Early and absentee voting have their place, but they are becoming the rule not the exception.
The headline in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper this weekend says it all: “People Who Vote Before Election Could Decide Outcome of Governor’s Race.”
In Florida, a third of the electorate will vote by mail, a third will vote early by going to a voting center, and a third will cast their ballots on Election Day. Nationwide, some 2 million people have already voted, even though scheduled debates haven’t even finished in many states. We are seeing an early-voting craze: In 35 states, people can vote early without having to give an excuse for missing Election Day. That’s up from 20 states just over a decade ago. Half the states also allow no-excuse absentee-ballot voting by mail. Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have abolished the traditional polling place; in those states almost everyone votes by mail.
“In reality, the days of an actual election ‘day’ are long gone,” Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida and director of the United States Election Project, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a solid election month, if not more in some places, and will continue to expand.”