Each state sets its own requirements for absentee voting, and some are more stringent than others. For example, in South Carolina you must provide one of 17 acceptable reasons for voting absentee; but California allows you to become a permanent absentee voter. In Oregon, all voting is done by mail.
California is the most populous state in the country and tends to have a high number of absentee voters, meaning that by the time the January primaries are over, more ballots might have been cast in California than in Iowa and New Hampshire combined.
12 December 2007
Republicans reach out to Hispanic voters ... in Spanish
On December 9, seven of the Republican candidates tried to connect with Hispanic voters by participating in a debate on the Spanish-language Univision television channel. Questions were posed in Spanish and translated into English for the candidates. The candidates' English responses simultaneously were translated into Spanish. The Democrats had their own Spanish debate in September.
The moderators' questions focused on issues such as health care, Latin American politics and, not surprisingly, immigration.
Some of the candidates also were asked why Hispanics' support for Republicans has declined in recent years. The candidates used their responses to highlight their common ground with Hispanics. For example, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, "I think Hispanics want the same thing everybody wants. They want jobs. They want education. They want to know that they're going to be able to live with freedom … somehow we didn't do a very good job of communicating that that's what we would provide in terms of opportunity and fairness."
An especially interesting element in this debate was what was missing: attacks. In the wake of several heated weeks on the campaign trail, with both sides attacking opponents within their parties, the Univision debate was remarkably calm.
Learn more about the role Hispanic voters might play in the 2008 election here.
11 December 2007
Biggest name yet hits the campaign trail
This past weekend Democrat Barack Obama brought out what his supporters hope could be the best weapon in his campaign arsenal: talk-show superstar Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey and the Illinois senator held rallies in the important early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Their South Carolina appearance before 29,000 people at a football stadium is the best-attended event so far in the 2008 campaign, and one of the largest election events in history. Obama and Winfrey tried to convince the audience, predominately African Americans, to support the senator in a state where African-American votes are key. They make up about half of Democratic voters in a state where polls show the race could go to any of the top Democratic candidates.
Trying to appeal to these voters, Winfrey said, "Dr. [Martin Luther] King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality."
Rival Hillary Clinton brought out a familiar name as well this weekend – her daughter Chelsea. Chelsea Clinton and her grandmother joined Senator Clinton's campaign in Iowa to reach out to women voters. The majority of caucus-goers in Iowa are female.
Do these endorsements matter? Read more about endorsements here.
08 December 2007
USINFO readers encourage young leaders
After reading this article, USINFO readers have been e-mailing comments about the importance of youth running for political office. Here is some of what readers had to say:
"I think young is great!!! We need people who still know how to dream big; how to strive for goals that currently don't exist in the common people's minds… Young blood, young thinking, like fresh, flowing water into a stagnant pond, are good things. Let's bring it on."
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