Early Voting in Future?

Although I’m not terribly excited about tomorrow’s election, I have always been interested in the statistics and dynamics of US elections and the means by which votes are cast and counted.

The historically large turnout of early registered votes for the 2008 presidential election this November is starting talk of allowing early balloting on a grand scale. Election officials are already claiming a massive wave of early ballots ahead of the Tuesday majority. The ballots are greater in quantity than any other election in US history, and the turnout tomorrow will likely break records as well.

Officials are already citing a likelihood of a Congressional movement to ease the restrictions on early voting for similar elections. In most states, voters need medical or legal documentation to obtain an early ballot. But with the turnout tomorrow likely to be record-breaking, officials are encouraging a true early-balloting system.

The concept calls for early balloting to be an option for voters of any state. The early ballots would not require any particular reason or need, and would be collected and counted on the deadline of election day. Officials seem to prefer a Congressional piece of legislation, that way every state would adhere to the same system and set of dates.

Besides the shear convenience that many voters will experience, early-balloting may alleviate many election day woes that are likely to occur tomorrow. These include long lines at polls, understaffed polls and simply slow ballot counting at high traffic areas.

From a historical standpoint, this is kind of funny. For a number of reasons, the US is well known for having comparatively low voter turnout, even for big federal elections. The turnout percentage for the US is among the lowest for western nations. But with so much enthusiasm for a new president, Americans may very well have a day of overwhelming turnout at the polls. The idea that our turnout has gone from rock bottom, to legislation pending high is quite a twist. Interestingly, there has been a significantly higher percentage of registered Democratic voters than GOP for the early ballots. If the Democrats maintain a fair control after Tuesday, they are predicted to be more supportive of an early ballot system than Republicans.


Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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