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Surprising numbers:

In the presidential election of 2008, approximately 39.7 million or 30% of all votes were cast prior to Election Day, November 4, 2008. This is a significant increase from 20% in 2004 and part of the upward trend experienced since 1992, when 7% of all votes were cast early. These numbers are likely to increase in subsequent presidential elections as more states adopt early voting and more voters become comfortable with the practice.

In California, 45 percent of ballots were early, 44 percent in Texas, and over half in Arizona (53%), Colorado (79%), Florida (52%), Georgia (53%), Nevada (67%), New Mexico (62%), North Carolina (61%), Tennessee (59%) and Washington (89%). Early balloting constituted a significant part of the vote in many more states, and of course, 100 percent in Oregon.

There is clear momentum toward early and mail-in balloting as a solution to many of the Election Day problems that have plagued our elections in the past decade. But as an enfranchisement tool, it tends to increase turnout and (capital "D") Democratic performance. Look at that list above -- of the 12 states listed, five were formerly Red states flipped by Obama (I italicized them). Obama flipped a total of nine. The other four?

Iowa: 36 percent early voting
Indiana: 24 percent early voting
Ohio: 25 percent early voting
Virginia: 14 percent early voting

Only Virginia was flipped without substantial early voting performance. Missouri, which Obama lost by a little under 4,000 votes, has no early voting. It's no stretch to assume that had early voting existed in the Show Me State, it would've kept its "bellwether" status by flipping Blue. The systematic disenfranchisement of voters in Kansas City and St. Louis has served Missouri Republicans well over the years.

Of course, much of the Obama field operation was predicated on early voting, so correlation may be by design, rather than any inherent advantages Democrats have in early voting numbers. Regardless, expect Republicans to stand firm against further expansion of early voting in the states making asinine arguments like these.

It is ironically unfortunate that a system that encourages greater democracy seems to give a disproportionate advantage to our side, since partisan GOP interests will be motivated to stem its spread. The Oregon model (100% vote by mail) is the gold standard of electoral systems, and anything that gets us closer to that model is good for our democracy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:40 AM PST.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Early is good. Paper is great. (10+ / 0-)

    Vote absentee if you can.

    Support President Obama and our troops!

    by Crashing Vor on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:42:08 AM PST

      •  I was pretty impressed by the way Obama (0+ / 0-)

        got out the early vote.  After seeing the horrific disenfranchisement in Ohio, 2004 first hand I thought it was a brilliant move.  

        It also had the effect of minimizing the use of touch-screen voting machines which, again because of the Ohio, 2004 experience, are suspect in my mind. I've read in other articles besides the one cited in this post that early voting is far more difficult to tamper with but I don't know if that is true.

        I think after Obama used early voting to such advantage that the early voting process should be examined to make sure it is as safe from tampering as can be.  The popularity of it took the Repubs by surprise this year but that shouldn't lead to complacency in upcoming elections.

        I also think there should be some consideration of making voting day actually cover 2 days of which one every employee should be guaranteed to have off from work.

        "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

        by Edgewater on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 04:32:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with the guy who wrote that article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor, Inspector Javert

      We should eliminate early voting. Making voting more convenient brings down civic pride. People should have to give up their entire day to voting on Election Day if they really want to prove that they love their country.

      In addition, I also don't think we should allow people to use cars to drive to the polls. Two hundred years ago voting on election day wasn't as easy as taking a 20 minute drive to your polling place and wait in line for 4 hours. No, if you wanted to vote you had to pack up for a two-day trek,starting on the Monday before the election and ending on the Wednesday afterword. Allowing people to drive only makes the voting process more convenient, just like early voting

  •  Not sure how anything depenedent on the USPS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cartwrightdale, MsWings, HappyTexan

    can be the "gold standard", but I defer to others who I presume know better.
    In any case, the easier it is to vote- the better for Dems.

  •  What bothers me about mail-in ballots (19+ / 0-)

    I have visions of the alpha male of a family standing over the kitchen table as everybody fills out ballots, telling all the family members (spouses, voting-age kids) how they must vote.  And then verifying that they vote the "right" way.

    More concretely (and sorry if this is sexist), I think of older, traditional wives being told by their husbands how to vote.

    •  More nefarious (9+ / 0-)

      scenarios exist than your example I'm afraid.

    •  Maybe Oregon Does Certified Mail? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm not sure I'd trust the USPS, either. If early voting lines in IN hadn't been so long, I probably would've done it. But, the wait was always 3 hrs +; I only had to wait 30 minutes on Election Day.

      On behalf of all "Hoosiers," I apologize for Evan Bayh!

      by CityLightsLover on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:45:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I knew an alpha male like that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      His strategems for controlling his wife and grown children would give a Freudian analyst enough material to last three lifetimes.

      "There's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail."--George W. Bush.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:48:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, NYFM, HappyTexan, Edgewater

      In my house, my wife tends to be the dominant figure :) so that can go both ways.

      "I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early? Would that be a problem?" - David Letterman

      by RichM on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:53:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Has never been significant reports of this in OR (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skywaker9, mmacdDE, h bridges

      Anyway, your hypothetical wife-beater could scare, coerce and beat his wife into voting "his way" booth or no booth.  And surely the wife would have bigger problems to solve than how to get her vote in!

      This argument usually turns out to be not, as I first thought, about concern for women or abused spouses, so much as it is about "what if the 'wrong' person gets elected because of some wifebeater"?

      •  It's not about "wife-beaters." (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skywaker9, pollbuster, echatwa

        In my (admittedly limited) experience, there are a whole lot of husbands of a "certain age" who don't allow their wives any privacy about this kind of thing.  And they aren't all evil: many of them are otherwise good husbands in a very traditional way.

        And my argument is completely nonpartisan.  It would hold, for instance, for the anti-choice religious woman who wants to vote for a Republican against her union husband's wishes.

        And yes, the sexual roles could be reversed, although that's not what I've seen personally.

      •  This happens in our house... (0+ / 0-)

        My wife never votes.  We live in Oregon now, and get the ballot and advocacy pamphlet at home.

        I fill them both out. I sign mine, she signs hers (because I ask nicely), and drop them off at the library.

        Sometimes she will let me read off the ballot choices, sometimes she doesn't care.

        At least there was another vote - if it had to be at the ballot box somewhere on 1 night with a line, she'd never vote at all.

      •  This is a bogus argument (0+ / 0-)

        Sure, there hasn't been "significant reports" of fraud on the VBM system.

        But there hasn't been any reports of actual electoral fraud with Diebold machines either.  Should we start using Diebold machines and regard them as the "gold standard" of voting?

        This is a lousy standard for judging the security of an electoral system, or any security system:  if there is a clear security flaw or the obvious lack of a basic security property, that's enough to stop using the system, or to fix it.  You don't sit around waiting until there is actual evidence of widespread abuse before admitting to a problem.

    •  Bingo. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadEye, echatwa, HappyTexan

      Also read about Latino voter coercion in the Stinson/Marks race in Philadelphia in 1993.

      Early voting -- as in, go to a public place, vote privately -- is awesome.  Universal mail-in voting is a bad idea.

    •  In Oregon if you were an abused (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      spouse you could go along with your beater, and then quietly, when he's at work or drunk, go off to the election office and have your original ballot nullified and vote in a private booth.  If you are so abused you can't get to the election office, he wasn't gonna let you vote on election day anyway.  Still, you could call the office and report the problem and they'd dispense with your defrauded ballot.

      However, please keep in mind that overall early mail-in voting as kos says, "increases enfranchisement."  We really don't have reports of voter fraud here in Oregon.  

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:05:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't buy this (0+ / 0-)

        The real question is, can coersion swing an election?

        If you have a system where an overbearing patriarch can watch his wife vote, I don't think it will swing the election back if all the wives can technically nullify their choices by filling out an appropriate form at the appropriate government office.  What percent of coerced people do you expect to do that?  One?  Ten?

        •  Perhaps 10 %, but that is not really (0+ / 0-)

          my point.  The point is that we don't really have any reports of such coersion happening at all.  Therefore it would be really hard to surmise that it would be enough to swing an election.  

          I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

          by fayea on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 05:37:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jeff City (4+ / 0-)

    There is bi-partisan talks in Jeff City to promote early voting.

    Apparently the Republicans don't like standing in line either.

  •  What About MN? (0+ / 0-)

    Is there any correlation between any early voting in MN (if there is such a thing there) & the continuing drama that is the MN Senate race?

    On behalf of all "Hoosiers," I apologize for Evan Bayh!

    by CityLightsLover on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:43:38 AM PST

  •  gawd (12+ / 0-)

    should we want to make voting so easy in order to accommodate people unwilling to spend some part of their Election Day going to the polls?


    people who care so little about the franchise that they won’t vote unless offered the opportunity for mail-in ballots, or a choice of days on which to vote, probably are no more willing to invest the time it takes to become informed voters.

    What a crock.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:44:14 AM PST

    •  voters who care so little about the (14+ / 0-)

      franchise that they refuse to get fired from jobs they desperately need to stand in line for hours at precincts short-stocked with defective machines while their counterparts in upscale exurbs breeze through line-free polling places.


      Support President Obama and our troops!

      by Crashing Vor on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:47:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Guess the guy doesn't know anyone who (8+ / 0-)

      has to work two jobs to break even, or mothers of small children.

    •  My parents-in-law are permanent absentees (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollbuster, PAbluestater, MsWings

      here in California, because of their age and general planned obsolescence that comes along with it. And they're probably better informed than most Republican voters (needless to say, they've been progressive Democrats longer than I've been alive).

      "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:50:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollbuster, PAbluestater, MsWings

      Even though there is class 5 hurricane headed straight for the city, if you don't show up for work on Tuesday, you're fired.

      "I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early? Would that be a problem?" - David Letterman

      by RichM on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:54:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  People should read that article (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, PAbluestater, SelenesMom

      The author really is reaching in his arguments. I particularly like these two:

      "While citizens properly enjoy a right to privacy regarding the candidate for whom they have voted, it is beneficial to encourage them to publicize before the largest possible audience the fact that they are voting. Exercising the franchise is an act through which we collectively assert our status as a self-governing people."

      So standing in line and voting on election day is the ONLY way to publicize the fact that you voted? How about blogging about it? How about telling your friends, co-workers, family, etc. that you voted?

      "Additionally, offering people the opportunity to vote by mail (as in some early-voting systems) for reasons of mere personal convenience, as distinguished from necessity (as required by the absentee-ballot process), encourages a misinterpretation of the act of voting as the expression of a mere private preference (like the Nielsen television ratings) rather than the outcome of a deliberative process that is concerned with the public good."

      Wow. Vote by mail is because of convenience and not because of necessity. And furthermore, voting by mail changes the nature of voting into something akin to watching television, rather than anything concerned with the public good.


      •  Actually it works in reverse in reality. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I mean in reverse to what the article says.  In Oregon with the mail-in ballot, we get time to sit at our table reading thru the voter pamphlet, checking stuff out on that system of tubes, refer to articles we may have saved from magazine or newspapers, discuss with someone we want to about just what some of the wording of certain referenda mean.  There is no pressure of someone in line standing behind us, no pressure to get back to a job, no horrid weather to get us in a mood different from that we would have under more considerate circumstances.  So we can take out time to consider comfortably.  To me, it gives the act of voting more respect as an important act since we don't rush thru it annoyed with traffic.

        I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

        by fayea on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:12:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really miss that voters pamphlet (0+ / 0-)

          Growing up in Oregon, I was reading the voters pamphlet before I was old enough to vote.  It was great, explaining in detail each referendum question, with statement for yea/nay.  Each candidate getting a page with a personal statement, with the fruitcake ones being quite entertaining.

          When I moved to Illinois, I just assumed a pamphlet would come in the mail.  No dice with a state with many time the population of Oregon.  But, it's great that you can go online and see exactly what your ballot will look like and who will be on it.  It was shocking, however, to see which candidates could not get it together enough to submit a personal statement.  Says a lot in my book.

          "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

          by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:21:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, PAbluestater, SelenesMom

      work shift work - 12-15 hr shifts aren't uncommon for cops, firefighters, medical workers. Hell, some are 24 hr shifts, where they CANNOT leave the building.

      Then there are the people who have long commutes and non-standard work hours, or who sometimes have to work mandatory overtime. The people who work multiple jobs. Those IT types who have to go in to fix problems, because you never know when you might have a critical system that takes hours to fix. Doctors who might be on call that day. Any type of emergency worker who may get called out. Anybody who travels a lot, and who doesn't necessarily know their schedule too far in advance. Even people who are unemployed, but know they may need to travel for a job interview. Somebody who's pregnant, or whose wife/partner or daughter is pregnant, and who's due around that time.

      And that's without thinking hard.

      All of those people might rather vote at their regular polling place, but they know that might not be possible, and they don't want to be shut out of voting through no fault of their own.

    •  When was the last time he had to (0+ / 0-)

      take his 85 year old granny to the polls.
      Or his friend in a wheelchair,
      Or the police officer working a double-shift,
      Or the teacher who drives an hour from the affordable home to the school in the wealthy town,
      Or stand in line, in November, with a nursing baby,
      Or is blind,

      We could go on and on.

      "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

      by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:17:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seriously, the rabble has to be prevented (12+ / 0-)

    from voting...

    It's the only way Republicans stand a chance in the long term. Voter apathy and inconvenience is the key.

    Oh, and as an aside, that's why the DLC version of the Democratic Party doesn't work. Republican-lite Democrats means people don't give a shit because there isn't a big enough difference for them to spend their time voting.

    The top tax bracket should be 90% for all types of income over $1,000,000.

    by atheistben on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:45:30 AM PST

  •  holiday (13+ / 0-)

    and election day should be made a National Holiday.

    I'm a Bobby Kennedy Democrat

    by docstymie on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:45:57 AM PST

    •  I worked briefly for a company (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, lirtydies, docstymie, MsWings

      (Underwriters Labs) that made Presidential Election Day a company-wide holiday; I thought that was quite cool.

      There would still have to be facilities/procedures for those who can't take the day off (hospital staff, public safety professionals, even bus drivers so people can get to the polls) to be able to vote.

      "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:48:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love the idea of election day being a holiday, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      docstymie, fayea

      but that still doesn't address the potential for corrupt election officials to shortchange voting equipment in poorer, urban precincts, thereby creating long lines for working people who cannot afford to wait (as we saw in 2000 and 2004 in urban parts of  Ohio's "blue" Cuyahoga County versus the "red" precincts stocked with adequate voting equipment further south).  When I went canvassing in some of the poorer neighborhoods in Cuyahoga County in this last election, almost every house I visited had taken advantage of the opportunity to vote early--either by absentee ballot, or more often by voting in person at the downtown Board of Elections.  It was very encouraging.

      Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

      by feeny on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:05:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't it a Federal law (0+ / 0-)

      that on Election Day, all employees can take two hours off for voting without incurring any penalties from employers?

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:06:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        possibly state laws in some states.

        •  In Missouri, employers are required (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to allow employees 3 consecutive hours to vote. For example, if you work until 5, and polls close at 7, if you ask, your employer has to let you go 4 so you have 3 consecutive hours. I took advantage of that on election day as that was my case. Turned out, I didn't need the extra time because much to my surprise, there was no line at my polling place. But it was nice having it just in case.

          No one knows these laws exist though. I didn't even know it existed until I came into work on election day and my manager sent out an e-mail to my team telling us to leave early if we needed to

    •  make it a weekend day works too /nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by IamTheJudge on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:12:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm in retail. I get exactly two holidays a year (0+ / 0-)

      off and they are unpaid.  That's right, I don't get paid off for Christmas or Thanksgiving.  If I'm  scheduled I work:  New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Easter, Labor Day, Memorial Day.

      You think an Election Day Holiday would not become an Election Day Sales extravaganza?  Vote, then shop!

      No thank you.

      "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

      by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:24:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Getting the voting process changed is a victory.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimeeinkc, lirtydies, MsWings

    for progressives and Democrats.  So now let's see about getting the counting process changed.  Do people realized that Blago was able to get Burris nominated and soon to be seated in less than 2 weeks while Al Franken will have to wait at least another month. Hmmm...

  •  Gotta love the Oregon system (7+ / 0-)

    On our beer tour to Portland, I spotted a pile of vote-by-mail applications at the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub. They were next to the piles of alternative newspapers (Portland has a wide selection of those). My guess is that Obama carried the Lucky Labrador by about a 10-to-1 margin.

    "There's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail."--George W. Bush.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:46:37 AM PST

  •  Early Voting More Prone to Fraud (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is way too easy to lose early votes, the Minnesota standard of same day registration is much safer. Even in Minnesota, 12,000 absentee ballots were not counted for various reasons.

    •  As compared to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      'Paperless ballots' set up on election day to make voting 'more efficient'?  I don't think so.

      "I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early? Would that be a problem?" - David Letterman

      by RichM on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:58:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They just KNOW something's wrong with it! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, FreeStateDem

    They can't say what, but dammit, early voting just somehow CAN'T be right!

    The GOP treats voting like the prize in a reality-TV show. If you stand in enough lines outside in the rain, heat and/or snow for enough hours, then you get good enough lawyers to litigate for months afterward, you too! can actually vote and have it counted. But you have to EARN it!

    Reframing the issue, like in the title of the post, is essential. It's not Election Day anymore; it's Election Week. Other countries do it all the time and there's no problem.

    Fired up! Ready to go!

    by RickMassimo on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:48:28 AM PST

  •  Early Voting is the way to go... (5+ / 0-)

    Here in Illinois it was really easy and so glad that's available now...  Makes the election just a deadline day and you get weeks before that to go whenever...  Not sure about the mailing it in though something about going someplace behind a curtain and casting the vote that can't be discounted... But early voting is something that we need to have in all States...

    "Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech." April 16, 2008, at a ceremony welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the White House. ---George Bush

    by ebbinflo on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:48:51 AM PST

    •  And Early Voting was exciting this year (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There were lines out the door nearly every day at our City Office.  Many elderly people came out, with their whole families.  Lots of lazy people were shamed into voting after seeing so many people making the effort.  We later heard that the oldest person who had never before voted was about 65.  Imagine voting for the first time in your life at age 65!

      "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

      by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:29:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)

    It's probably why Indiana flipped and Missouri didn't, even though Indiana was shown as being consistently more red.

    I've heard wingnuts calling for the abolishment of early voting and absentee voting, as well. lol

    I just wish there was some way to stop Obama before he destorys the country. Maybe Bush will declare Marshall law sometime later this week. - Some Freeptard

    by arcticshadow on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:48:54 AM PST

  •  Thanks to the Election Integrity movement... (5+ / 0-)

    We probably should thank all those people who fought so hard for early voting. Early voting is also harder to hack. However, the Oregon model is not the "gold standard". Paper ballots with mandatory random audits. That's the gold standard. I would even take Minnesota's system or the "bronze" standard. If Al Franken wanted a recount in Pennsylvania he would be out of luck. There is no paper record.

  •  If the economy collapsed a few months later.... (0+ / 0-)

    that could have spelt doom for Obama getting into office. Early voters might have voted McCain and then regretted their vote once the economy went down. I don't think the early voting process is a very good idea as it could cause people to miss what is might occur in the future.

    Don't act like sheep letting the media dictate your thoughts. Ask questions and make your own decisions.

    by CobtheCrazed on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:49:39 AM PST

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

      by MsWings on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:58:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i.e. What if something happens (0+ / 0-)

        between when you send your ballot in and the actual Election Day that would make you change your mind?

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:08:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What I mean is.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We already know a lot of people voted for Obama merely because they were scared of the failing economy. This was really highlighted in the last month of the election. What happened if this wasn't highlighted until mid October, and Millions had voted already for McCain thanks to early voting?

        Don't act like sheep letting the media dictate your thoughts. Ask questions and make your own decisions.

        by CobtheCrazed on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:09:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Something could always happen (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah, Im nonpartisan

          between election day and inauguration day, too. Anyone whose vote is that fickle probably shouldn't be voting in my opinion.

          "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

          by MsWings on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:10:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was just a thought. There are a lot of people. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            who change their votes multiple times before election day. We call them independants and we needed  them for Obama to win this past year. To take away their right to vote because they don't know which poor choice for president to choose from while you and I do would have cuased Obama to lose. I guess my main point is, give people right to the end to see how things progress and to learn all they can about the 2 candidates, this way they can make as informed a ecision as possible.

            Don't act like sheep letting the media dictate your thoughts. Ask questions and make your own decisions.

            by CobtheCrazed on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:20:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm nonpartisan (independent) (0+ / 0-)

              because I do not belong to a political party.  That does not mean I waver in my vote from day to day.  But, it does mean that I'm open to any candidate from any party and quite willing to split my ticket.

              "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

              by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:32:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also Independent (0+ / 0-)

                I am also independent, and I am also happy to split my ticket.  However as mentioned above, that does not mean that I waver in my decisions.  To me what being independent means is that I am willing to look at all the candidates even those from non major parties and decide who I feel will best represent my views.

                It also means that I do not feel that there is a party out there who I agree with 100%, which is what I feel it would take for me to join their ranks

        •  How early is early? In OR we get out (0+ / 0-)

          ballots about 3 week before the due date.  If you haven't decided by then, not much really should change your mind.  But if you haven't decided, you can wait till the last minute and put your ballot in the drop box then.

          I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

          by fayea on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:19:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And how long would you put it off? (0+ / 0-)

      I mean the future and all.  Could go on and on - into the future!

      And in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false - about HOPE. Barack Obama

      by thesunshinestateisdark on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 02:24:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It messes... (0+ / 0-)

    unaware of new issues or revelations that may emerge in its closing weeks, or sudden developments (international incidents or domestic crises) that bear on the question of whom to elect?

    Up the GOP 72 hour smear and fear campaign as well as the keep them (the probable Democratic voters - you know who you are) away from the polls on election day.

    Another word for "emerging revelations"...nice euphemism...

    Obama/Biden'08 Delivering Change he Promised

    by dvogel001 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:50:07 AM PST

  •  I love Election Day (6+ / 0-)

    I love going to the polls, seeing the little old ladies, and experiencing all that flag-waving American apple pie hokum. It's civic. It's fun. It brings up all the warm and fuzzies of my ninth-grade civics book. And when I was canvassing for Obama, asking people if they were thinking about voting early, I received several variations on that sentiment.

    Given that, what have I done the past two elections in Ohio? I've voted early. I want to avoid the lines, and I want my vote to be on paper.

    We've got to get more states on the early voting bandwagon. Yeah, we might lose the civic hokum that I was talking about, but who cares, really, if participation increases? What's more important--the symbolism of the ballot box on election day, or increased voter turnout?

  •  It would be regrettable if Repubs don't take the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    long view.

    Sure an older candidate without a grassroots movement was hurt by early voting. But not all future Republican candidates will be John McCain. Moves to prevent early voting can't retroactively change the last election, and may cost a very different Republican a future election.

    I'm Zamboni Hussein Palin, and I approve this message.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:51:24 AM PST

  •  Here's an idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that deserves fuller development; Free certified mail for ballots.

  •  I love North Carolina's early voting; it's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebbinflo, boofdah, echatwa

    simple, fast (when the counties prepare properly - there were some long lines this election but I can't imagine how much worse it would have been without early voting) and makes it possible for a lot more people to vote. I'd love to see it nation-wide.

    "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

    by MsWings on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:52:27 AM PST

  •  Most of the people who vote early... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, MsWings

    are hard core supporters of one candidate or another at the top of the just gives them more chances to come to the polls...

    The terrible...expanding voting to the "uninformed"...better known as non-Republicans...

    Obama/Biden'08 Delivering Change he Promised

    by dvogel001 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:52:29 AM PST

  •  the ultimate gold standard (0+ / 0-)

    voting via internet.  Confirm at your leisure that you voted for everything you wanted; get an immediate confirmation of receipt; print such out.

    That works great for our financial system.  But voting?  It's just a pipe dream, isn't it?

    •  aoeu (0+ / 0-)

      Sure, if you have access to a computer.

      MCCAIN: My friends, some of this $700 billion ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

      by TealVeal on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:17:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a gold standard (0+ / 0-)

      Too easy to make issues with electronics.  How do they know you cast that ballot?  Mail everyone in the nation a Wacom Tablet so they can sign it?  Even then, it's a 2d signature.

      Vote by mail requires physical signature in 3 dimensions, which can be verified, and is verified against the signature database at the SoS (in Oregon).

      Vote by mail is far superior to vote by PC when it comes to preventing fraud.

  •  Election day is still election day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, SelenesMom, Lady Libertine

    even if it now has fewer and fewer votes, because it's still the day when most candidates get elected.

    "We had a decisive win... and so I don't think there is any question we have a mandate to move the country in a new direction." Barack Obama

    by pollbuster on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:55:02 AM PST

  •  Early voting in Iowa was not by mail. Absentee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is still by mail but you could vote early by going to Auditor's office or the local grocery store and voting with real ballots handled the same way other ballots were handled.  I know two of my neighbors voted early so that they didn't have to rush to hope they had time to vote before work because they had school board meetings after work.  Our precinct is usually fairly slow so you never know if you're going to have time, and it isn't convenient to where most people work, but where we live.  It seems most people who are active in other community functions are Dems so the fact that they took advantage of early voting over Repubs doesn't surprise me.  Of course I had 17 reminders from the Obama campaign reminding me of the early voting options.  My mother-in-law's retirement village voted mostly absentee.  My husband and I like to wait until election day to vote.  All are good options.

    And yes, as a matter of fact, I was born this way.

    by deweysmom on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:56:58 AM PST

  •  Speak for yourself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PAbluestater, mkor7

    Uh,...I live in Pennsylvania. No early voting. The fact that us Keystone Staters can't even buy a freakin' bottle of wine from anybody not named The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (yeah, I am bitter) speaks volumes.
    That being said, I am a traditionalist. I like ties in pro football, and I like my election day to be on election day.

  •  OT: David Vitter drilling Clinton about ethics.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Suggesting Bill does business with "terrorists".

    What a fucking joke.   Why does this criminal fuck even have a seat at the table?

    McCain * Palin 08 - A Bridge To Nowhere!

    by Beelzebud on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 11:57:36 AM PST

  •  Better to expand election day... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, keikekaze, mkor7

    over an extended period, like a weekend, with no results released until the period elapses for all voters.  

    Early mail in does not take account of events leading to election day.

    Nor is there a paper trail.  What real evidence is there that the votes are counted accurately?

    I'd much prefer an online system where people use a pin, or something similar in this age of technology.

  •  I wouldn't say ironic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, MaryCh

    It is ironically unfortunate that a system that encourages greater democracy seems to give a disproportionate advantage to our side, since partisan GOP interests will be motivated to stem its spread. The Oregon model (100% vote by mail) is the gold standard of electoral systems, and anything that gets us closer to that model is good for our democracy.

    Ironic is when actual reality differs from expected reality.  Here we have a case where something that is good for democracy is bad for the GOP leading to GOP opposition.

    Not unlike public education
    the NEA
    government transparency
    government competency
    racial harmony

  •  And in Oregon (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, boofdah, ScottyUrb, SelenesMom

    We will likely eliminate the registration deadline very soon...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:02:25 PM PST

  •  I voted absentee on my birthday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, ebbinflo, boofdah

    ...and I was sobbing.

  •  Early voting worked to our advantage in 2008, . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . . where the Democratic candidate was enjoying his biggest leads (according to polls) from late September to mid-October.  One can easily imagine 100 come-from-behind election scenarios (like Truman's in 1948) in which early voting would benefit Republicans.  Better an expanded national voting period over a few days, with paper ballots required by every state.

    "If elections really changed anything, they would be outlawed."--Emma Goldman

    by keikekaze on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:04:29 PM PST

  •  so how can states like Missouri be pushed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    towards allowing early voting? is it by a statewide ballot initiative?

  •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, lirtydies, milkbone, echatwa, mkor7

    The Oregon model (100% vote by mail) is the gold standard of electoral systems, and anything that gets us closer to that model is good for our democracy.

    On paper you are correct but I think that there is something important in having a day where a huge number of people think about Democracy even if it is only for a few minutes.

    I think the 'event' nature of an election day is important, a collection of images, videos and words all from one significant day is important.

    •  Election day WAS an event in Oregon! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevej, boofdah, rsmpdx, FreeStateDem

      You still have to count up all the votes and announce the results on one day (well unless you are running for Senate I guess).  People ran around downtown celebrating.  So you can have all that without voting in person on the same day.

      •  The single individual vote (0+ / 0-)

        is what it is all about though. A bad analogy maybe but wouldn't no voting on the day be the equivalent of pre game and post game but no game game?

        •  It's the same game in Oregon, just with more info (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fayea, Im nonpartisan

          No, the game is still the game, but it's longer and better.

          You guys gotta walk in to that ballot location like a bunch of stooges.

          We get, everyone gets, no matter how dumb you are, a big pamphlet of every action you have to vote for, and in that thing anyone who spent $500 bucks can give you their reason yea-or-nay on why they think you should support or not that ballot.

          What that means, is when you have to vote on so-and-so for college provost or odd-county-initiative or judge-whatshisname you can at least be reasonably informed by a blend of advocacy groups.

          So in Oregon, everyone gets equal preparation for that game.

          Don't you get tired of reasearching the right vote on the local judge, knowing that by far and away most people are voting for that judge just based upon party or god-forbid, name?

          Explains why people named things like Samuel Adams cannot lose an election.

          Seriously, vote by mail is still the election game, and you can drop it off at the election office day of if you wish - but the conclusion to the game happens on the day the election is decided.  It's the same, just no stupid hassle and a lot more information put your way beforehand.

          Coming from Michigan, I have to tell you, I have learned to be DELIGHTED with Oregons voting system.  It's the best.  Period.

    •  Higher turnout is more important (5+ / 0-)

      As a commenter above said, it will still be Election Day because that's when we get the results. That's enough of an event, and voting by mail generally produces higher participation, especially for downballot races and issues.

      Based on this, one of the theories for why our turnout is so low is that we have a complicated multi-level system of government, and lots of people feel uncomfortable voting on candidates and issues they don't think they're well-informed about. Mail-in ballots put all the questions in your hands in advance, and give you time to find out more if you don't think you know enough. So it's not just more voter turnout, it's more engagement with democracy and government, which is a very good thing.

      A lot of people thinking about Democracy for a few minutes is good. A lot of people thinking about Democracy for more than a few minutes is even better, and well worth the trade-off of it not happening simultaneously.

    •  I thought that the "event" nature (0+ / 0-)

      of election day was drinking massive amounts of alcohol while simultaneously watching 4 TV stations and 3 blogging sites on the tubes and jumping up and down yelling every time any result came in.  And the less tied down people were in the local taverns and out on the streets in my small Oregon town really whooping it up.  

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:27:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Demcorats have not lost a single (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Statewide contested election in OR since the enactment of full vote by mail...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:06:35 PM PST

  •  Virginia (2+ / 0-)

    Virginia had relatively low early voting because it technically does not recognize early voting.  To vote absentee, you need to show cause. Although at least in some counties, leaving the county for any part of the workday was called close enough.

    •  Agree ... (0+ / 0-)
      Kos, be careful about describing Virginia's system as early voting.

      It's still absentee voting, which can be done in-person in some (not sure if all) jurisdictions or via absentee ballot. Voters are required to complete a form (under penalty of perjury, I think) providing a reason why they need to absentee vote.

      The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

      by D in Northern Virginia on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:52:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Expecting more GOP obstruction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Only Virginia was flipped without substantial early voting performance.

    Unfortunately, this means the House Republicans in the VA Legislature will fight tooth and nail against any early voting expansion. (A big part of the reason VA's early voting was so much lower than the others is that our early voting laws are very restrictive.)

    But they would have done that anyway, I guess, based on the old political adage that when everyone votes, Democrats win.

  •  Lots of problems with early voting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1.  Dramatically more early and absentee votes are lost, damaged, challenged, or rejected, for a variety of reasons.  Debates over which votes to include and which votes to exclude are always rampant.  Your vote is statistically much less likely to be counted if you vote early/absentee.  That's why a lot of organizations such as Project Vote oppose Oregon-style voting.
    1.  Vote by mail can't be protected against fraud.  People can be made to vote under duress, spouses can't secretly vote differently from their husbands, and people who honestly aren't informed enough to vote (and/or don't care) could easily have their ballot used by another family.  "Hey son, I'll give you $20 if I can vote with your ballot, too."  Or, more common, anyone who has, say, a live-in elderly relative, essentially gets to vote twice.
    1.  People are voting at different times, and therefore, with different information.  I know at least one friend of mine voted absentee for McCain and then, after seeing some additional interviews before election day, was upset he couldn't change it to Obama instead.  Now, there's a positive flip side to this as well -- in that a "gotcha" surprise or allegation a day or two before the election won't have as much impact if voting has been spread out.  But voting early is still, at least in part, unfair, especially since each state has different rules.  Imagine if sports bookies made people in Michigan place their bets before the game started, but people in Ohio could place their bets at halftime.  Those in Ohio would have access to much more information than those in Michigan, likely affecting their informed decision.  If most of the country was voting by mail, and then a day before the election the leading candidate is caught with a dead hooker, he'd still likely win office, which he wouldn't have if everyone voted on the same day.  That's why any early-voting or absentee voting system must must must include the right to still change your vote on election day.

    "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. And I did!

    by cartwrightdale on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:11:42 PM PST

    •  Who are these "lots of organizations"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have never, in years, heard of a single organization opposing our Oregon system of voting.  You'd think they might have written a letter to the local paper or maybe put up a billboard or something.  You'd think they'd all be real active just across the river in Vancouver WA, but instead, Washington is moving to a similar system.

      I have never heard of "Project Vote," who are they?

      Why is it better to risk having your vote challenged at the last minute, rather than having some days or weeks even if you want to call and make sure your vote has been recorded, and get any problems fixed?

    •  Your last point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Im nonpartisan

      is also a point in FAVOR of the Electoral College.

      In that case, the Electors could vote for the OTHER guy, because the winner was fatally flawed. And if there was enough public outcry, I suspect they'd do exactly that.

      At the very least they could throw it into the House, which would make for a very interesting time.

    •  no, perhaps, no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Dramatically more early and absentee votes are lost, damaged, challenged, or rejected, for a variety of reasons.

      In most states, the system is set up for machine voting and mail-in ballots are an after thought.  In Oregon where the whole system is geared towards mail in balloting, we have no such problems.

      spouses can't secretly vote differently from their husbands

      While there is some truth to this, it is also true that people influence people's votes all the time, secret or otherwise.  This is a potential problem (though I've never heard of specific case, it is a much small problem given the whole of our voting system.  The cure is way better than the disease.

      That's why any early-voting or absentee voting system must must must include the right to still change your vote on election day.

      Ah...  and what happens if some big news breaks after the election?  Something can always happen, real or imaginary.  Spreading the vote over time is a feature, not a bug.  It prevents "October surprises" and attempts to manipulate the vote through last second theatrics.  So, no no no.

    •  Patently false (0+ / 0-)

      ...spouses can't secretly vote differently from their husbands...

      That's ridiculous.  Of course they can.  They may not be able to, but I suspect those instances are very rare.  Given that about 50% of marriages end in divorce, can you provide evidence that a large number of divorced people have cited spousal pressure over voting in their complaints?  Wouldn't you expect it to come up if this duress issue were as widespread as you suggest?

    •  None of your points are valid in Oregon (0+ / 0-)

      Repugs have tried to use all of your points in Oregon and they are utterly blown to pieces in defense every single time.

      Vote by mail works just fine.

    •  another thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in the primary for California a lot of people voted for Edwards early.  By the time the actual date of the primary arrived he had dropped out. Wasted vote.

      "Whenever I get the urge, I lay down 'til it passes." - Mark Twain on exercise.

      by mkor7 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 02:15:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stupid, stupid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, FreeStateDem, kevin k

    Wow.  That was a really stupid column by David Schaefer.  His arguments have merit, in the way that "cell phones are bad because you don't get that wonderful rotary phone feel" and "the internet is bad because I miss having to walk to the post office to write to pen pals" have merit, but is he just trying to break a record of being stupid?  Seriously.  It's called progress.  It happens.  It's good.  Gah.

    (If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, click the link on kos's post.)

    •  Indeed, a stupid article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      His points are all about symbol rather than substance.

      I simply vote.  Period.  I just do it as part of my job as a citizen.

      For me, it is not some kind of great statement of democracy, or whatever.  I make my "artistic statements" elsewhere.

  •  wish we could get Early Voting in PA (0+ / 0-)

    or make it a federal law? Too slow in PA - and Repugs in PA State Legislature very much against.

    They know making voting a little more convenient - would just help vote more of their asses out of office.

    Yes We Can, and Will get Health Care for All.

    by PAbluestater on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:20:11 PM PST

  •  WOW, those NRO arguments are pathetic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PAbluestater, boofdah, rja, FreeStateDem

    I mean, really.  We shouldn't have early voting because then no one will be able to look upon the gigantic lines on Election Day and get all misty-eyed about people exercising their right to vote?  Gee, that's not exactly what springs to mind when I see people walking away from a 5-hour poll line in disgust after half an hour.

    And the kicker has to be how terribly "concerned" the NRO is that voting from home will cause people to not be "deliberative" enough in their voting.  This, after having spent the last two months of the election cheerleading for the most insubstantial, ad-hominem, fluff-based presidential campaign in modern history.  Hell, the only chance the NRO's favored candidate ever had of winning was for people to be as non-deliberative as possible.

    To call it weaksauce is an insult to sauces!

    •  I read Schaefer's argument, too, and yes, it was (0+ / 0-)

      ...pretty ludicrous. Especially when you consider that, in spite of all of his posturing re: treating Election Day as a special occasion for "civic pride," he never once argues in favor of making Election Day a national federal holiday--something that would make voting ON Election Day not only convenient for convenience's sake, but possible for those "uniquely-American" citizens (h/t Dumbya) who are working 2 and 3 jobs...

      The media image of a "center-right" U.S. is a myth and a joke.

      by boofdah on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:34:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We tried to turn Missouri blue (0+ / 0-)

    The systematic disenfranchisement of voters in Kansas City and St. Louis has served Missouri Republicans well over the years.

    Early voting may have made the difference in Missouri.  We lost by only one vote per precinct!

    Under the circumstances, a Missouri recount would have been an "excercise" that wouldn't have changed the result of the national election.  Many of us feel that, in a recount situation, Barack may have emerged as the winner.  Hard to know for sure, though.

    I wish they had early voting here, though.

    •  We encourage you Kevin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kevin k

      To make that happen.  You have four years.  Least you can do it to make a Facebook page about it.

      "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

      by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:42:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One might want to remember that although OR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    is 100% mail-in voting, nonetheless the turnout percentage shrank by nearly 5 percent from where it was in 2004.  So just because you have early/mail-in voting does not necessarily mean you have higher turnout.
  •  Shafer is a moran. (0+ / 0-)

    From the linky:

    (Economic theorists who treat voting as an “irrational” act, since the odds of a single vote changing the election are too small to be worth the time it takes to go to the polls, overlook the incalculable value to the individual of such pride, as well as its contribution to the maintenance of free government and even of economic freedom.)

    That's what an economically "irrational" act means -- an act which can not be economically rationalized, like having children or anonymously punishing cheaters. Of course it's trivially true that acts which are not economically rational can be justified in terms of psychic or other rewards which are irreducable to currency -- everything is justifiable!

    There's the stupidity of right-wing (and some radical left wing) thinking which destroys any argument they may have -- attempting to reduce everything to money, and then just using a Procrustean bed to fit everything into their little theology.

    That's a propagandist with a crappy ideology for you --- pretending to be an "intellectual".

  •  The mail in only ballots in Oregon (0+ / 0-)

    is one of the black marks in my book against ever moving to Oregon. For me I enjoy going out and going to the polls and casting my vote. I have tried absentee voting and it is not the same. Sitting at home filling in the ballots just does not give me the same satisfaction as going to the polls does.

    Going to the polls and voting makes me feel like I am fulfilling part of my civic duty. Doing it at home it is just one more annoying thing I have to do while paying the bills. I know its not rational, but it is the way I feel on the subject and that is not going to change any time soon.

    •  Maybe time for new civics? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm one of the many proud-of-our-system Oregonians commenting on this post.  I like your point, and miss going down to my neighborhood middle school, saying hello and thank you to the Greatest Generation volunteers behind the tables, and filling in my ballot.

      What's replaced that in the past few years is getting together with my family to fill out the ballot, including discussing the candidates (and in Oregon, the too many ballot initiatives) with my kids.  This year my spouse even let my son fill in the bubbles.

      Other folks in the state have held ballot marking parties - I guess they're probably straight ticket types.

      And for those wanting Election Day ceremony, there's always taking a completed ballot, tucked inside both its secrecy envelope and signed outer envelope, down to the county elections office.

      I suspect other folks have created other 'new traditions' in response to the change -- I know I've seen them discussed in other DKos posts.

      •  That's precisely what some of us (0+ / 0-)

        are scared about with universal absentee voting. There will be too much family supervision over individual voting, resulting in the loss of the secret ballot.

        •  Well, you can open your mail alone (0+ / 0-)

          and mail in the ballot immediately -- I was only trying to point out positive shared civic voting.

          In the 10(?) years we've been voting by mail here there have been no or extremely few instances of voter fraud, coercion, or intimidation.  I feel pretty confident in saying that because I surf our local (Portland) FOX radio yakker, who goes on and on about the potential problems and loopholes one could drive a truck through in vote-by-mail, but hasn't id'd a single instance.  

          And like w's TANG record, you can bet the farm that if there were credible evidence for voting fraud it'd be shouted from the rooftops.

          •  Mail-in voting works well in Oregon (0+ / 0-)

            But the problem lies in machine-driven cities such as Chicago. The situation there might become just like the old days, when machine politicians used to supervise voting by the poor and make decisions on service allocation based on their votes.

        •  You know, most of us are married to (0+ / 0-)

          people we like and respect.  I know that sometimes my husband and I have voted for different candidates, and that's just fine.  This very elaborate story of the forced ballot by the authoritarian spouse makes for exciting drama, but most candidates will by healthy margins.  The ones and twos that may be "lizard people" won't matter in the end.

          It makes me think of the argument used against women voting, that they would vote for the most handsome candidate.  Who would believe that?  

          On the other hand, I sure would like for there to be a tutorial about why certain ballots are "ruined" and ineligible.  That would be an interesting lesson for most of us.  Who knew there were so many "wasted" ballots?

          "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

          by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:48:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It may not just be spouses (0+ / 0-)

            In the old days in machine-driven cities, machine politicians used to supervise voting by the poor people who depended on their services. Universal mail-in voting may take us back to that condition.

      •  I would also like to add (0+ / 0-)

        What happens in cities with strong machines (such as Chicago) where the machine leaders can watch people vote when the vote absentee and decide who gets what services based on that?

    •  You dont know what you are talking about... (0+ / 0-)

      If you, in Oregon, want to vote traditionally, you can go down to the elections office, put your ballot on the fill-out box thing everyone else uses, and fill out your ballot, sign the envelope, and hand it to the election official.

      You can do it that way here if you want to.  I always hand mine in like that.

      But before you speak, you should inform yourself of the facts - lest you look like those Republicans have the past 8 years.

    •  Don't be a stranger to Oregon! (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry our election process is keeping you from joining us here!  I'm sure you'd make a great citizen of our state.

      I should ask, however, if you have actually experienced an election day here, or if your objections are theoretical?

      If the polling ritual is what lights your fire, you can always go to a polling place on election day to deliver your ballot.  The only thing missing will be the lines.

      The deaf shall have music, the blind have new eyes. The standards of death taken down by surprise. (Bob Franke)

      by rsmpdx on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:32:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why is this so difficult? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AndyMo42, rsmpdx

    In the day and age where trillions of dollars securely swapped on a continuous basis across the internet with few problems, why can't we get a system for voting that can do the same?  Build sufficient redundancy and paper trail into the system and allow voters to confirm that their vote has been counted correctly.  If you've ever given blood, you know that the nurse has a set of stickers that go on your sample vials, your donations and your paperwork, all with the same unique private code that is only used once, ever.  Each time you give, you get a new code.  The nurse makes you double check that everything matches.  This is a great system because people know that life and death are involved, yet your privacy is kept.  If voting should be taken that seriously, then the system too should take that kind of approach.  Redudancy is the key.  Why not apply this to voting.  

    Each voting authority could send you a unique code for each election.  You could vote online with a digital signature or password of some sort to confirm who you are and view your own votes after they are cast to confirm there is no vote swapping or funny business.  Perhaps even have a button to request a printout be mailed to you.  You could also request a paper ballot with carbon copy paper if you prefer to mail it in.  You could also print your own votes for future proof.  If something funny does happen to your vote, there would be enough people who voluntarily printed proof to do an audit and prove fraud.  By having unique codes, you could prove the fraud without ever identifying the person who voted, providing privacy.  No matter how you voted, you could check your votes, prior to them being counted, by using the unique vote number.  The printed versions could also have a unique confirmation code showing that they were, in fact, cast.  That way anyone, including people on this site, could go in and check for themselves for fraud while still maintaining the complete anonymity of the system.  No system is perfect.  Even paper ballots can be "misplaced," etc.  I don't see how a sufficiently redundant system would be any worse; probably better.  Don't get my wrong, I'm not talking about Diebold machines here, we're talking about redundant databases that can be error checked both electronically and by humans (election officials, the media and the general public).  The polling place is nice and all, but I personally don't feel any more secure handing my ballot to a poll worker than a USPS employee.  Oregon's system is better but there's still plenty of room for improvement.  

  •  "Election Day" and polling places are obsolete! (0+ / 0-)

    Great success here in Oregon as Vote-by-Mail (VBM) was phased in beginning with the legislature's 1981 approval of at test of VBM in local elections.  Brief history at OR SoS.

    First general election VBM, November, 2000.  79% turnout.

    Here's a pretty full accounting of OR VBM at the SoS web site.  Includes some links to studies of security and effectiveness.

    I really don't see the value in forcing people to line up in bad weather to exercise their franchise.

    Early voting is a good start.  The next step is getting rid of the requirement for polling places.

    The deaf shall have music, the blind have new eyes. The standards of death taken down by surprise. (Bob Franke)

    by rsmpdx on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 12:56:53 PM PST

    •  Didn't it also save buckets of money? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That state budget was eviscerated by Republican tax measures and one of the ways to save millions of dollars for the state and counties was to close all those polling places?

      "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid." Rahm Emanuel

      by Im nonpartisan on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 06:51:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't have cost data (0+ / 0-)

        I expect that it does save a lot of money, but my Google doesn't turn up any real authoratative results to demonstrate this.

        The deaf shall have music, the blind have new eyes. The standards of death taken down by surprise. (Bob Franke)

        by rsmpdx on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 09:31:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The real answer. (0+ / 0-)

    Finally, should we want to make voting so easy in order to accommodate people unwilling to spend some part of their Election Day going to the polls?

    Because if you don't have a salaried job with lots of time off, a nanny to watch your brats, convenient and reliable transportation, and a suburban polling place with plenty of machines and short lines, you shouldn't get to vote.  That's why they hate early voting.  Voting on election day is a privilege of certain classes.  People who won't be fired if they spend 6 hours in line to vote, and who will never have to wait that long anyway because they live in wealthy neighborhood.  People who don't have to take the bus to the polling place, and hope they catch the last bus home.

  •  What about weekend voting? (0+ / 0-)

    The Weekend Voting Act recently introduced in Congress would have election "day" span Saturday AM-Sunday PM.  Check Why Tuesday? for more...

    "Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don't have enough brains to be honest." -- Ben Franklin

    by samwithans on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:05:33 PM PST

  •  By mail? Are you fucking kidding me? (0+ / 0-)

    I refuse to believe voting by mail would increase turnout. The only reason I manage to pay my bills on time is because I can pay them on the internet. Boom! Done. No envelope, no stamp, no statement to dig up, no mailbox to visit. Voting in person is much easier - I just take the whole day off, vote, and then volunteer. I realize that works better for me than for other people, but I'm a voter too, damn it! This discriminates against the disorganized.

    Visit Election Inspection for analysis, polls, and predictions!

    by XStryker on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:17:27 PM PST

  •  Things that always start feisty discussion (0+ / 0-)
    1.  That durned Internet Protocol thing, of course
    1.  Is the stimulus big enough?
    1.  We do so need prosecution!
    1.  We do so need some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission!
    1.  Anything positive about the Yankees
    1.  Any slight, real or perceived, to Oregon's vote-by-mail system, which is just about universally loved in the state
    1.  If you are actually in Oregon, you might try talking about guns or bikes at random.
  •  No To 100% Vote by Mail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebbinflo, echatwa

    A 100% vote by mail system makes more individuals subject to voter intimidation, vote sales, and employer interference.  A secret ballot with balloting in front of election officials and election judges is more secure and less susceptible to manipulation.

    Things like "let's have a voting house-party to fill out and send in our ballots" sound benign, but can easily get out of control.

    Even though Oregon's system works for Oregon, the rewards for Rovian tactics in Oregon are pretty slim given both state demographics and the fact that it's only the one state.  Just envision 100% vote by mail in Pennsylvania, or Texas, or Louisiana, or New York.

    Sure, it seems a good way to get a more involved electorate, especially for people whose jobs and family situations put a real cost on voting.  But, I don't see it working for a diverse, pluralistic, easily swayed general public like the US.

    •  Kos support for all mail-in voting is tragic (0+ / 0-)

      The virtues of all mail voting are unsupported and probably untrue, for instance that mail-in voting increases turnout.  No one has done a legitimate study to support that claim.  Lower cost of mail-in elections is an other unsupported claim.  

      Any time live ballots are floating about in an uncontrolled environment is bad.  Vote buying and voter intimidation have historically been problems in US elections; mail-in voting just begs for those kinds of abuses that can't happen in a well run precinct election. The opportunity for fraud with mail-in exceeds even DREs, in my opinion.  I'm afraid if we go to all mail-in elections we might as well not even bother to vote, fraud will be so common.  A county commissioner in Colorado admitted to picking out over 500 absentee ballots from the trash cans in post offices. My neighbor told me her son comes to her home and throws away her ballot. Who of you is to decide your convenience is more important than her vote?

      Also, the number of people who's vote doesn't get counted with mail-in is way too high..  MN proved that hand marked paper ballots are too often ambiguous.  When ballot are mailed in there is little opportunity to cure problems that an election judge can deal with on the spot in a precinct election.  Too many ballots get lost getting to and from the voter and the tabulation location.  Finally, there is none of the transparency of a polling place election with mail-in.  

      Chuck Cory has a good write-up of mail-in issues at  Please look at his article before jumping on the mail-in bandwagon.  

  •  Ohio legislature has passed a bill to restrict (0+ / 0-)

    early voting
    It was passed when the state legislature was ruled by Republicans. But, fortunatly the govenor is a Democrat and the Dems now are a majority in the Ohio House.
    Repubs still run the senate. They really can't stand a fair fight. Now the next step is to redistrict...

  •  A history of suppression (0+ / 0-)

    leads me to vote early.  We use optical scan in Florida so I know immediately after voting whether or not my vote is valid.  Voting early gives me a week to solve any problem the Republicans invent to try and nulify my vote.

    Always grateful to wake up alive.

    by Subo03 on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 02:02:30 PM PST

  •  Criminy..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ....if we can get the State of Utah to vote early - at Voting centers - (most of the votes cast in the November election were "early")...  how embarrassing is that for other states?

    As an election officer for my city.... Early Voting is not only cost efficient (fewer election judges, fewer precincts) it's more inclusive.

    And if anything - we need to be more inclusive here.

    Additionally, we're moving from having the voting centers in government-only offices (restrictive hours) - to the local mall....thereby boosting the economy as well.

    Early Voting + Absentee Mail in Voting equals waaay more voices being heard.

  •  Actually I think this sucks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      as I like going to the polls on election day. I'm cool with early voting, absentee voting and such. But vote by mail as the only standard is just RIPE for problems.

      All it takes is a few operatives willing to commit fraud to perpetrate a massive fraud on vote by mail systems.

      No system is perfect, including vote by mail. Bc as our voting methods change, so will the methods of voter intimidation, and in extreme causes, fraud. If there are no machines to corrupt, well there are ballots to toss out. You think a GOP operative will care whose ballots they are? All they have to know is where they are from. A bunch from Cleveland...gut them. A bunch from Cincinnati? Keep them. Plain and simple.

  •  Let's all follow the OREGON MODEL!! (0+ / 0-)

    100% of voting in Oregon is absentee. You get your ballot, and must mail it in or deposit it in a secure box by the deadline.

    Then we need a simple ballot format that allows us voters to see who we're voting for, make a mark, and have it count.

    Absentee voting is good -- except for the quirks that caused so much havoc in Minnesota, where otherwise valid ballots were invalidated when the election judge didn't sign the ballot flap; in my California county, the voter must sign the ballot flap before mailing.

  •  So where do you put the independent observers? (0+ / 0-)

    Someone's family room?
    I have a hard time believing that the "gold standard" in voting is a system where the balloting location can't even be observed to guarantee that privacy laws are being followed.

  •  Early Voting (0+ / 0-)

    While I support early voting all over the country, I think that it is important to point out that according to Curtis Gans, early voting did NOT increase voter turnout.

    Again, I strongly support early voting and believe that it gives people less of an excuse to not vote. (Not that ther is EVER an excuse for not voting).

  •  Something strange in Ohio, surprise, surprise. (0+ / 0-)

    Early voting substantially increased in Ohio from 2004 to 2008, aided by a longer window for it, yet overall election turnout declined in Ohio from 2004 to 2008.

    There was a major complicating factor in that Ohioans knew they would be decisive in 2004, and knew they would not be decisive in 2008. But still, it goes against the logic of early voting.

    •  just not true (0+ / 0-)

      This is not true in most counties.  The problem is that many people run around making declarations like turnout percentage based on election night results.  There were so many provisional ballots this election plus the law allowed for postmarked absentees to be counted, so there were many absentees also added after the unofficial results.

      If you look at the official results 2008 vs. 2004 the turnout doesn't decline in most counties.  And I suspect there was a lot of GOP voters who didn't turnout.  I also think there were many first time urban voters who waited four hours in line in 2004 and felt shafted, so I think there will be longterm effects on those voters.

  •  Best of Both Worlds (0+ / 0-)

    Mail-in ballots should be an option, but i also think that multi-day walk-in voting should be available as well. Some folks don't trust the post awful, and what happens if you lose the darn thing before you mail it? (This happened to me once when i wanted to vote absentee.) Instead of eliminating one source of voting, i would rather have many different ways to get it done.

  •  Vote by mail gold standard? Are you kidding kos? (0+ / 0-)

    I live here in "free canada" and we actually have a nationally standardized, simple paper ballot. Elections Canada, who run the elections, are well funded. You can vote early if you want, but why bother, when you can go the large number of voting places and vote in person with a minimal wait.

    I think that the Gold standard is a solid, reliable, and simple in-person secret ballot.

    Of course having a well-funded nationally standard ballot in the USA? ... don't make me laugh...

    •  umm.. (0+ / 0-)

      is your ballot four pages long?  Do you have 20 local issues?  well, sure federal elections could be done like Canada, but we have many complications like write-ins, "vote for only four" races, etc.  The big problem is that many cities save up local issues for the presidential years and make insanely long ballots, when they should do those issue on off years when more concerned, active voters can voter on them.

  •  what a fool (0+ / 0-)

    Of course why expect anything different from his behavior in 2004. But, come on...

    "The Oregon model (100% vote by mail) is the gold standard of electoral systems, and anything that gets us closer to that model is good for our democracy"

    I understand people from Oregon promote it, but it is silly to even suggest it is a good idea.  There will never be an easier way to steal an election then with mail-in voting.  In fact, it is easiest way to buy votes as well.

    The only honest elections will be done on paper in your local precinct and counted at the precinct on election night.  Mail-in voting is about 100% opposite of that.

    You will not know if your ballot made it through processing (USPS, voter verification, signature verification, then was it read by the scanner).  Also, many people are pushing vote-by-mail because the new voting systems will be the next gen stuff what takes photos of your ballot and even involves electronic adjudication, which means your ballot is no longer secret.

    Furthermore, every election involves stories of ballots sitting at a post office either lost or waiting for pickup.  Or lost in warehouses at boards of elections.  Forget door-to-door campaign workers, just get your volunteers hired as postal delivery.  In certain neighborhood you can lose the mail.

    The real risk aside from vote buying, is that it will be very easy to stuff the ballot boxes.  An insider can just remove a handful of ballots and put pre-made replacements.  Or just add some ballots to the top of the stack.  See, with precinct voting, at the very least there is some type of inventory of how many people signed-in to vote.

    Do you have any idea how many absentee ballots are currently rejected?  More then what happens at precincts (even with provisional voting).

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