Early voting is a product of the times

I may be wrong, but there seems to be more talk about the number of early ballots cast for the 2016 election than in past elections. However, as I write this post, just nine days before election day, it has been estimated that only about five per cent of the 130 million ballots expected to be cast have been recorded.

Thirty-seven states now offer early voting for individuals who want to avoid long lines, not miss work or school, and getting to vote on weekends in some states. People can vote as early as 46 days before the election. I tend to agree with those who say early voting run amok is bad for democracy and threatens the basic nature of citizen choice.

You may think, as I have, that a lot can happen in those 46 days; people can change their minds.

Research has revealed, however, that few early voters report they regretted their choice, having made up their minds relatively early. They tend to be more ideological and partisan than the average voter, according to the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

So, any number of new revelations from the WikiLeaks e-mails, more bad news about ObamaCare premiums and deductibles, or the reopening of the FBI’s investigation in the Clinton e-mails is going to change the minds of those voting for Hillary Clinton.  You can say the same for Donald Trump’s base.

Except for special instances, when absentee ballots are necessary (for the military), I would like to see all voting done on Election Day, with an approved voter ID. Unfortunately, the horse is out of the barn on election laws. In 27 states, you can get an absentee ballot without an excuse. And in three states a ballot is mailed to every eligible voter with no request or application necessary.

Early voting is a product of the times in which we live. Everything is made easy. I suspect on-line voting isn’t far off. Making citizens more accountable for their vote would most likely further reduce the percentage of those voting from the 55 per cent in the last election.

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