Posted: November 11, 2016
As voters count down to the day of the election, more than 34 million Americans have voted early, turning election day into what's more accurately called Election Weeks. Early voting, is for the most part, an idea that has caught on for all the right reasons.Early voting thins out the crowds on Election Day, preventing long lines that have marred past elections. It boosts turnout and reduces the chance that bad weather on Election Day will affect the outcome. And it increases voting opportunities for working people who often lack the flexible schedules needed to get the the polls.
Nearly 40 states allow early voting, but one problem is that some have takend this good thing too far Six-Iowa-Minnesota-South Dakota- New Jersey-Vermont and Wyoming start voting in late September, about the time of the first presidential debate. That's too earlly in my opinion.
The public learns alot about candidates as campaigns progress, a point certainly proven in this year's presidential race. Early voting ought to be confined to the period bewteen the final presidential debate (Oct. 19th) and Election Day.
The most blatant suppression effort came in North Caronlina where in 2013 the GOP-dominated legislature sought data on early voting in two previous elections and discovered that a large percentage of African Americans that white voters used early voting, particiularly during the first and and on Sundays.
On the other side of the aisle, is a speed and magnitude of October surpises that demonstrate the dangers of allowing early voting. Since the practice began to spread in the 1990's, the likelihood of late-breaking, game-changing developments has been thought to be quite low and perhaps this election is atypical. Early voting means that different voters are voting on a difference choice proposition. The choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before the revolation that Donald Trump's comments about women is not the same after the revlations of Justice Deparment investigation of Clinton's e-mails. Yet in some places, ballots were already cast even before either development.
The point of adversary elections is to get the most relevant information to voters. Discovering information about the candidates takes time-and early voters do not get the benefit of this. The less information voters have, the more likely they are to vote based on non-candidate-specifics. That turns an election from a deliberate choice between voters to an identifying-based one, and entrenches partisanship.