The trouble with early voting

The trouble with early voting

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A number of people have been quoted voicing support for early voting in Connecticut. There is a problem with early voting, though, that I have not heard anyone mention.

I think most people would agree that the best voter is the most fully informed voter: the one who knows the most about the candidates, their capabilities and character, and their positions on the issues. Quite simply, the people who vote early are not as well-informed as the people who vote on Election Day.

Six states allow early voting starting in September. The great majority of the other states start it at varying times in October. Only two wait until November to start their early voting.

Between the day early voting starts and Election Day, anything can happen that could and should influence voters. For example, if you follow the news, you know that scandals are not the sole possession of one party. Members of both parties have been involved in all sorts of issues, involving sex, race, and criminal or unethical behavior. If you find out that a candidate of your party sexually harassed someone, or worse, would you want to vote for that person? I doubt it. If you already gave an early vote for them, though, it’s too late to do anything: you’re supporting that person.

Early votes can be made before the presidential debates. You know that in the past things said at the debates have affected people’s opinions of candidates and changed the outcome of an election. That change might not happen, though, if too many people have voted early .

One of the major issues for many voters in the coming election is inflation. The latest economic news is released at the beginning of every month. If the news at the beginning of November shows that one party’s economic plan is working, shouldn’t they get the benefit of that? If it isn’t, shouldn’t voters know that? If people are voting based on inflation, shouldn’t they have the most up-to-date knowledge of how things are going before they vote?

A number of things could happen after early voting starts that could make a person want to change their vote. But with a secret ballot — which is a necessity for a free democracy — there is no way of taking back a vote.

Early voting is perfect for people who blindly vote for all the candidates of their own party, and who would be glad, I think, if they could get early votes in now for elections in 2023 and 2024. But that’s not the way votes should be cast. They should be cast based on the fullest possible knowledge of the candidates, their positions, and the effects of their policies. (Can anybody disagree with that statement?) The person who votes on Election Day will have more knowledge about those things than the person who votes before the election.

It’s stated that early voting is necessary because some people’s work hours will not allow them to vote during the scheduled hours on Election Day. If that’s the problem, then have the polls open for 24 hours on the day of the election. This will be both simpler and less expensive for the state than having the polls open in the weeks before the election during the same hours that are problems for workers.

The longer hours should also help in the cases where the lines are too long on Election Day. If there’s still a crowd, then the state should get more machines. The trouble and expense of this would be well worth it if it will ensure that all voters are more fully-informed when casting their votes — and less expensive, in the long run, than having voting places open for weeks before the election in the years to come. And it would be far less expensive than having the voters find out they made a wrong choice when they could have made the right one.

Greg Darak lives in Trumbull.

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Jorge Oliveira

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