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September 21, 2012

By Next Week Voters In 30 States Will Be Able To Cast Votes In The Presidential Election

Alternate title: The Slow Death of the American Republic, A Continuing Series.

The November 6 election is still seven weeks away, but early, in-person voting begins in two states on Friday, even as Democrats and Republicans battle in court over controversial plans to limit such voting before Election Day.

Idaho and South Dakota are the first states to begin early voting on Friday, although North Carolina has been accepting absentee ballots by mail since September 6. By the end of September, 30 states will have begun either in-person or absentee voting, and eventually all the states will join in.

Much of the focus of the early voting period will be on the politically divided states of Ohio and Florida, which could be crucial in deciding the race between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

This is, in a word, insanity.

Yes, we should make accommodations for absentee voting if you have a reason to be away from home on election day, for seniors/disabled for whom it would be a real hardship to get to a polling place and of course the military. Beyond that it's outrageous.

Aside from the obvious potential for fraud, even legitimately cast ballots at this point represent a danger to the integrity of results. We're 7 weeks out and haven't had a single debate yet. A million things could happen between now and then that would cause some one to reconsider their choice for President or any other office on the ballot. Voters should have access to the same information and see the full campaign play out.

Just think how some elections might have changed if early voting had been allowed on this scale earlier.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan trailed Jimmy Carter well into October and two moments in the debates are credited with boosting Reagan ("Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" and Carter's, "I was talking to my daughter Amy...." both came in the debate less than a week before the election).

Of course that might not have happened had Gerald Ford not said in a 1976 debate against Carter, ‘There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford Administration’.

If getting to a polling place on a designated day is too much for you (other than the instances above), perhaps you aren't all that committed to the process and shouldn't be voting.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:53 AM

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