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Battleground: New laws, tight states, race

FLORIDA: Per the Miami Herald: "About 3,200 new voters are in the cross-hairs of Florida's new and controversial 'no-match' law, which could force them to cast provisional ballots on Election Day if officials can't confirm their identities."

INDIANA: Democrats will like this quote from the Indiana GOP communications director, reported in the Muncie Star Press: "Despite spending millions in Indiana on negative advertising, Obama still trails McCain, though it's a lot closer than we'd like to see."

MICHIGAN: "In search of explanations, two Associated Press reporters -- one black, one white -- listened to people of both races along Detroit's divides: Alter Road, which separates the city from the tony Grosse Pointes near Lake St. Clair, and 8 Mile Road, the vast northern border between a mostly black Detroit and its mostly white suburbs. They found people of both races living just blocks apart who nonetheless spoke of each other like strangers. There was suspicion, contempt -- and yet, for many, a desperate hope that Obama's candidacy might be the final step in America's long path to racial equality. For whites, their support of Democratic economic policies forces them to confront their racial prejudices. It is here you meet decent people with much in common -- both sides of 8 Mile Road are populated by blue-collar Democratic families. But many still can't get past their racial differences."

A good headline for Team Obama in the Detroit Free Press this morning.  In a full front-page, above-the-fold spread: "In economic crisis, Obama offers Detroit a message of hope." 

OHIO: Absentee voting starts tomorrow in Ohio. The Obama campaign's plans involve concerts, bus trips, and even airplane-flown banners to advertise the start of early voting. Per the Columbus Dispatch, "Republican John McCain's campaign is more guarded about its plans but said it also is conducting a significant push to get voters to cast absentee ballots as part of a comprehensive get-out-the-vote effort. Although experts say most absentee ballots are cast by partisans or others who have made up their minds and would have voted anyway, the McCain campaign thinks it can attract independents and Democrats."

PENNSYLVANIA: The Boston Globe continues its battleground series. "Sharon, a city of about 16,000 in the Shenango Valley on the Ohio border [in Pennsylvania], is on the front lines in that trade battle, and, after years of dreary economic news, finally won a victory in June… Mercer County leans Democratic and Sharon is overwhelmingly so. But this is Reagan Democrat country. Sharon's population is whiter, older, and less educated than the nation as a whole and the county vote in the last two presidential elections mirrored the national results - Al Gore edged George W. Bush in Mercer County in 2000, but Bush beat John F. Kerry by almost three points in 2004. It is also Clinton country. In this year's Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton trounced Barack Obama by more than 38 points in Mercer County."

"'I'm a big Clinton supporter; I loved Bill,' said George Bornes, retired president of the steelworkers' local that represented workers in the Sharon plant torn down 16 months ago. Dropping by the corn stand of his former coworker, Terry Ross, Bornes, a self-described 'lifelong Democrat,' Bornes hesitated when asked who he'll vote for in November. After a moment, he said: 'I will stay a Democrat and vote for Obama . . . I can't afford any more of this economy.'"