Almost 2 Million Early Voters in Ohio, Lines Still Long Today

| by Michael Allen

President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney have scrambled over the past few weeks for Ohio and its precious 18 electoral votes.

There have been 1,775,650 early voters in Ohio before election day and yet the lines are long today. 

Many voters just skipped the lines and mailed in their ballots. The Columbus Dispatch reports: "This was the first year most of Ohio’s 7.9 million registered voters were mailed absentee ballot applications.”

ThinkProgress.org's Scott Keyes took this picture of students at Ohio State waiting as long as two hours in line to vote.

Why is Ohio so important? Since 1944, the state has gone with the winner of the White House, except in 1960 when Ohioans voted for Nixon over Kennedy. The northern part of the state, near Cleveland, tends to be more liberal, while the southern part of the state leans to the right.

Polls going into Election Day showed Obama with a narrow lead in Ohio, prompting Romney to make the late dash to Cleveland today while running mate Ryan planned a stop in Richmond, VA, reports the Associated Press.

During an interview with WTAM radio in Cleveland, today, Romney was asked whether he thought the voters always get it right. Romney replied: "I won't guarantee that they'll get it right, but I think they will."

Romney and Ryan visited a campaign office in in Richmond Heights, Ohio, to thank their volunteers, whom Romney told: "This is a big day for big change."

President Obama visited a campaign office in Chicago and was met by applause from volunteers before he picked up a phone to call voters in Wisconsin.

President Obama told the Associated Press: "I also want to say to Gov. Romney, 'Congratulations on a spirited campaign.' I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today."

The president will still be playing his traditional basketball game with friends today.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean appeared on 'MSNBC’s Morning Joe' where he recalled hearing about illegal voter harassment in Ohio and Pennsylvania, reports Mediaite.com (video below).

When asked if he thought President Obama could lose Ohio, Dean said: “Given the vote and the leading in the polls in Ohio, the only way he can lose is if people are prevented from casting their ballots. Either by voting machines that aren’t functioning right or other forms of harassment.”