President Barack Obama’s campaign, eager to bank as many early votes as possible in Florida, is launching an unprecedented program to encourage supporters to vote by absentee ballot right away.
The "Vote Now!" initiative aims to spread the word that voters can go to their local elections office, request an absentee ballot, and complete and return the ballot on the spot. That option has been available for years, but this is the first time a campaign has organized a statewide effort to promote the process.
"We’re encouraging voters to not wait and cast their ballot today," said Ashley Walker, Florida director of the Obama for America campaign. "We will be utilizing all of the resources we have available to us to ensure folks know about this option, and understand how it works. We want to make this election as easily accessible and open to any eligible voter as possible."
Walker said they will spread the word through phone banks, door-to-door canvassing and other outreach efforts.
The Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott last year cut the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before election day — over the objections of Democratic leaders. The Florida Obama campaign decided in response to make more of a push on absentee ballots, and encourage people to treat them much like in-person early voting, which doesn’t start until Oct. 27.