Us political observers haven’t taken sufficient notice of the fact that early voting is making the idea of “Election Day” ever more irrelevant. And that’s a good thing.
Well, except when a politician flip-flops on a key issue late in the game.
Vermont hasn’t gone as far as some jurisdictions in abandoning the calendrical imperative as a limit to voting rights. Oregon’s elections are entirely conducted by mail, with each registered voter automatically receiving a ballot. We don’t do that, but at least we make ballots freely available either by mail or in person at your town clerk’s office for more than a month before election day.
Although the service is underpublicized (Jim Condos doesn’t have an advertising budget), more and more Vermonters are taking advantage. According to VTDigger, roughly 17 percent of ballots for the “August 9” primary will be returned in person or by mail before the polls open.
This is inconvenient for pollsters and pundits and for politicians crafting last-minute strategery, but it’s a very good thing if it enables more people to vote.