Voting has already been underway for more than a month. The good folks in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin appear to have won the this year’s honor for being the first to cast their ballots when early voting started on September 19. In 2016, 37 states, plus the District of Columbia will allow early voting. Early voting is part of a nationwide effort to make voting easier and more convenient, encouraging a higher turnout. If you have not yet voted, there’s no time like today!
Early voting popular
In the 2012 presidential election, about 30 percent of the voting was done by mail in ballots or early balloting. In three states (Oregon, Washington, and Colorado) all voting is done by mail-in ballots, with the ballots available about three weeks before Election Day.
Typically, Democrats lead in early voting, especially in-person early voting, because their voters are not as likely to go out to the polls as Republicans. The GOP, however, tends to make up ground through mail in absentee ballots. — Michael McDonald, University of Florida
Gets more people to vote
Proponents of early voting argue that making the process easier encourages more people to vote, which is the cornerstone of democracy. It encourages participation by groups that in the past did not vote.
Early voting has recently surged among traditionally underrepresented voters. The 2008 election marked a dramatic increase in early in-person voting among African American and Latino voters. — Ballotpedia
May not have all the information
The counter argument to early voting is that the voters may not have all facts in hand before making their decision on how to cast their ballot. Some voters will have voted before the 3rd debate that was held on October 19. Or, there might be some late breaking news that would cause a voter to change their mind, but they have already voted.
For all its conveniences, early voting threatens the basic nature of citizen choice in democratic, republican government. In elections, candidates make competing appeals to the people and provide them with the information necessary to be able to make a choice. — Ballotpedia
200 million registered voters
For the first time in history, the number of registered voters in the United States has exceeded 200 million citizens, an increase of 50 million new voters in the past eight years. In the 2012 election, 129.2 million Americans voted, down slightly from a record 131.4 people that cast their ballots in 2008. This year is expected to see a record number of votes cast. The online election betting site, PredictIt, currently shows the favorite betting line is for between 130 million to 135 million voters. The second favored bet is for over 135 million people voting in 2016.
The bottom line is that everyone owes it to themselves, and to their country, to cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice on or before November 8. It’s never been easier!