(New York Times) A stream of voters arrived at election offices across Iowa to cast their ballots. Waves of absentee ballots have started landing in mailboxes in 30 other states. And more than a month before what the calendar says is Election Day, President Obama began delivering his closing argument to voters.

The rise of early voting, which got under way here on Thursday, is changing the rhythms of how Americans elect their presidents. The president is not as fixated on his Election Day showdown with Mitt Romney, but rather on successfully executing a plan to accrue more votes over the next 40 days.

For millions of Americans, the election is no longer on a fixed date. It is increasingly becoming another item on the fall checklist, a civic duty steeped in the convenience of everyday life. The development is reshaping campaigns, with Election Day becoming Election Month for as much as 40 percent of the electorate this year, including voters in the vital swing states of Ohio, Florida, Colorado and others.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.