Election Day Has Already Started
Today's New York Times has a useful front-page piece on early voting and the uses and abuses thereof. But it's written from a strange goo-goo perspective that emphasizes the potential for voter fraud inherent in unsupervised absentee balloting rather than the much bigger story that early voting is slowly changing the very definition of "election day." The piece also doesn't hint at the partisan implications of loose absentee balloting laws. I can think of at least one state where Democrats won big in the 1990s by investing heavily in absentee ballot distribution, and another where Republicans did so. But by now, it's pretty safe to say that both parties understand the laws and are exploiting them to the fullest extent.
Early-voter targeting, like traditional election-day GOTV, focuses on heavily partisan segments of the electorate, so it's unlikely that the overall dynamics of the race will have much impact on who "wins" or "loses" in this shadowy competition. But conversely, early-voter targeting could greatly affect the outcome in a very close race.