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View Diary: Right-wing law prof's case against early voting (148 comments)

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  •  There was an original practical reason for this. (0+ / 0-)

    Farmers had to ride into town perhaps one weekend a month for supplies: Saturday to ride in, Sunday to go to church, Monday to buy supplies (perhaps by selling some produce or livestock), Tuesday to ride home.  On the weeks with elections, they stayed in town Tuesday to vote, then rode home on Wednesday.

    In the days before corporate ownership and rules, most people's working hours were flexible (and towns were too small to make voting a long errand away from work).  A storekeeper who wouldn't let his staff take an hour to vote would be considered not a good citizen, and lose business.  Corporations don't care about this, of course.

    Registration was originally required before EACH election, and it was a way to keep black people from voting after emancipation.  For rural black farm workers, going into town and coming anywhere NEAR the courthouse was very intimidating.  But unless you showed up at the courthouse at least 30 days before every election, but after the last one, you wouldn't be able to vote.  White citizens had no problem with that, and they even got help from sheriffs and other authorities so as not to forget to register and vote.  Black citizens were too afraid of the courthouse (and nobody reminded them of the date, either), so when election day came, they were told they couldn't vote because they didn't register.

    Today, registration is maintained automatically until a voter missing an election, but states which do not want everyone to vote still have a problem with election day registration, even though residence addresses can be verified instantly online.  And a low tech procedure can prevent double voting: a purple thumb like they use in newly democratizing third world nations.

    My proposal would be a full week of elections with polls open 12 hours a day, but different hours on each day, so you could vote any hour out of 24 on at least one day of the election week.  Or maybe month.  The thumb dye would only be good for one day, but in 24 hours the online database would be updated to show you had already voted.

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