CHICAGO: US President Barack Obama joined thousands of fellow American voters in casting an early ballot on Thursday, stopping in at a polling center in his hometown of Chicago.
Several American states allow voting before election day and polling data suggests the Democratic incumbent has built a lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among early voters in the run-up to November 6.
"It means you don't have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast your ballot," Obama told a small crowd of poll workers and observers, in televised footage.
"If something happens on election day, you will have already taken care of it. If it's bad weather, you won't get wet. Or in Chicago, snowy. But this was really convenient," he said, joking: "I can't tell you who I voted for."
Obama seemed cheerful and relaxed, despite being mid-way through a two-day, six-state, non-stop tour of battleground polling areas. He posed for pictures with fellow Chicagoans and greeted local reporters.(AFP)