US President Barack Obama casts his early ballot on October 25, 2012 at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago. (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
5:26PM EDT October 25. 2012 - President Obama racked up another vote Thursday -- his own.
Setting what he hopes is an example for supporters nationwide, Obama became the first president in history to cast an early ballot, taking a side trip to Chicago while wrapping up a two-day national campaign swing.
"Hello everybody, this is so exciting," Obama said as he walked into the Martin Luther King Community Center in South Chicago.
And, yes, the president had to produce ID: "I'm just glad I remembered my driver's license," Obama told one poll worker.
(Also seen voting early today at the center: Obama senior adviser David Axelrod.)
This may be the beginning of the end of a tradition: The sight of presidential candidates going behind the curtains at their local polling places on Election Day itself, camera people and reporters in tow. Obama himself engaged in this exercise four years ago, but these days more and more states are allowing early voting.
"We can vote early in Illinois, just like you can vote right now in Florida," Obama told a crowed of backers earlier Thursday in Tampa.
Obama promoted early and absentee voting -- a key part of his campaign's electoral strategy -- throughout his two-day trip, one that included stops in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia.
The tour is scheduled to wrap up Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio -- another state where early voting is expected to be crucial.