President Obama’s commission on election administration recently issued a final report containing some terrible recommendations.
The president announced his commission in the 2013 State of the Union address, highlighting the plight of a centenarian who endured a long wait on the first day of early voting. The 112-page federal commission report has loads of advice for states about how to run their own elections.
The worst idea in the report is a call for states to expand early voting. Some states already open polls weeks in advance of Election Day. In Wyoming, polls open in September, even before the end of Major League Baseball’s regular season.
Mr. Obama’s federal commission wants American elections to start earlier and last longer.
Here’s eight reasons why the early-voting fad is a bad idea.
First, early voting produces less-informed voters. After they cast an early ballot, they check out of the national debate. They won’t care about the televised debates, won’t consider options, and won’t fully participate in the political process.
Early voting means stubborn voters will make uninformed decisions prematurely. Voting even one week early produces less-informed voters and dumbs down the electorate.
In 2000, millions of early voters would have never had the opportunity to consider what they felt about the revelation that candidate George W. Bush had been caught drinking and driving back in 1976.
Those who vote a month in advance are saying they don’t care about weighing all the facts. Early voting encourages stubborn and uninformed voters — something the country could use fewer of, not more.
If you’ve voted early in the past, you should resolve to stop. Wouldn’t you rather listen and learn all you can before you commit?
Folks who vote early should be handed a sticker that says, “I Voted (early without knowing all the facts).” The “I voted” stickers should be reserved for the rest of us who vote on Election Day.
Second, early voting is extremely expensive. When election officials drag out an election for weeks, that means more poll workers, more broken machines, more salaries, more costs, more everything.
Elections are already expensive. Cash-strapped local governments should not have to spend many millions more to run an election for weeks.
Third, early voting is a solution in search of a problem. Those who claim America is plagued by long lines on Election Day aren’t being honest. MIT conducted a study of the 2012 presidential election and found that the average wait in line to vote was 14 minutes.
Big deal. If a 14-minute wait justifies spending millions of dollars, then the U.S. Postal Service should open up “early mailing.”