But Studies Say Early Voting Boosts Integrity Of The Voting Process …
Florida Senate Report: “Early Voting Increases Procedural Integrity Resulting In More Accurate Ballot Counts.” In an October 2010 interim report on the effect of early voting on Florida elections, the Florida Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections wrote that “early voting increases procedural integrity resulting in more accurate ballot counts.” [FLSenate.gov, October 2010]
.. And In-Person Voter Fraud Is Extremely Rare
In Person Voter Fraud Is Very Rare. On September 20, a voting expert on Fox News said that voter fraud is extremely rare, “on the order of winning the lottery.” A 2007 report from New York University’s Brennan Center noted that allegations of voter fraud “simply do not pan out.” In November 2011, Fox host Megyn Kelly admitted that voter fraud is “not overwhelming.” [Media Matters, 9/20/12, 9/10/12, 11/4/11]
For more on how right-wing media inflate claims of voter fraud, see here and here.
… But Voting Expert Notes That Majority Of Early Voting Ballots Are Cast During Final Two Weeks — By Decided Voters
Voting Expert Gronke: “The Overwhelming Majority Of Early Votes Are Cast During The Last Two Weeks.” On the blog of the Early Voting Information Center (EVIC),PaulGronke, EVIC’s director, wrote:
Most voters don’t cast a ballot during the “extended” early voting period (he must mean the weeks before the “final weeks”, although he contradicts himself there). I’ll write again what I wrote a few days ago: the overwhelming majority of early votes are cast during the last two weeks, and the majority, in most states I have examined, in the last week. [Early Voting Information Center, 9/29/12]
Right-Wing Media Attack Early Voting As Unconstitutional And Untraditional …
Newsmax: “Early Voting Violates [The] Constitution.” In an October 10 column on Newsmaxheadlined “Early Voting Violates Constitution,” former Bush aide Bradley Blakeman wrote:
The U.S. Constitution sets forth the following criteria for the date of presidential elections in Article 2, Section 1:
Clause 4: Election Day
“The Congress may determine the Time of chusing [sic] the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Congress sets a national Election Day. Currently, Electors are chosen on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, in the year before the President’s term is to expire. The Electors cast their votes on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December of that year. Thereafter, the votes are opened and counted by the Vice President, as President of the Senate, in a joint session of Congress.
Our Founding Fathers specifically set forth “a national Election Day” —not days. In the early days of national elections it was no easy logistical task to vote. People had to plan to cast their ballot. Many citizens had to endure long travel and hardship to cast their ballot on a single day.
You would think that the authors of the Constitution in light of the hassle citizens had to go through to exercise their right to vote would have provided a period of days for ballots to be cast. The fact is they didn’t. I believe the Founding Fathers set forth one day for voting because they knew that in order to best execute a fair election and in order for Americans to understand and appreciate their right to vote that voting should involve some level of “sacrifice” of time and effort.
If our founding fathers saw no need for elections to be conducted over days and weeks in light of the inconvenience and sacrifice required at the time, why now in 2012, when travel and access to polling places is so convenient do we disregard the constitutional requirement for national elections to be conducted on just one day? [Newsmax.com, 10/10/12, emphasis added]
Dobbs: “Well, 200 Years Of History Would Suggest [Voters] Wait Until” Election Day To Vote. During the September 24 broadcast of his show, Dobbs said that voting “traditionally has been on one day” and later said of early voters, “Well, 200 years of history would suggest they wait until Tuesday, November 6.” [Fox Business,Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/24/12]
.. But Early Voting Was Practiced In Earliest Days Of U.S.
Voting Expert McDonald: At “The Founding, Elections Were Held Over Several Days To Allow People Living In Remote Areas To Get To The Courthouse.” From an online conversation with voting expert Michael McDonald, an associate professor at George Mason University, that was hosted by the Brookings Institute:
12:47 Comment from Jennifer S. : Why do we vote on Tuesday? It seems inconvenient. Wouldn’t more people vote if we did it on the weekend? Or over a period of days that offered both morning and evening hours?
12:48 Michael McDonald: We used to have early voting in the US! Back at the Founding, elections were held over several days to allow people living in remote areas to get to the courthouse (the polling place back in the day) to vote. In the mid-1840s, the federal gov’t set the current single day for voting because — what else? — claims of vote fraud. That people could vote more than once. [Brookings, 9/26/12]
Prior To 1845, Presidential Elections Took Place Over A 34-Day Period. According to a 1992 report prepared by William Kimberling, then the deputy director of the Federal Election Commission’s Office of Election Administration, before 1845, Congress allowed states to conduct their presidential elections over a 34-day period.
Early Voting Was Expanded In Response To Problems At The Polls …
Beacon Journal: Early Voting Was Expanded In Ohio After 2004 Election Saw Unacceptably Long Wait Times For Voters. Early voting was expanded to include the weekend prior to election day after the 2004 presidential election, when long lines and equipment problems caused voters to wait nearly all day to cast their ballot. The Akron Beacon Journal reported:
The legislature expanded absentee voting in Ohio after the 2004 presidential election that saw long lines, with some voters waiting up to seven hours and others giving up and going home. The first presidential election that allowed early voting without a special reason was four years ago, when nearly 21 percent of all registered voters in Ohio cast absentee ballots. [Akron BeaconJournal, 7/17/12]
Voting Problems Prior To Expanding Early Voting Effectively Left Many Citizens Disenfranchised. The complaint noted that the long lines in 2004 left people who could not spend an entire day at the polls disenfranchised:
Between 2005 and 2011, Ohio successfully administered an early voting system that included in-person voting in the three days prior to Election Day. This early voting system increased participation among voters, including those for whom work or family obligations make it difficult to vote on Election Day, and reduced the congestion that caused such severe waits during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio that some citizens were effectively denied the right to vote. [Obama for America v. Husted, accessed 10/2/12]