Early voting seems to have caught on with the electorate. At least 37 states have some form of early voting. Millions of registered voters are taking advantage of the opportunity to vote early.
The states for the most part have different times for voting early. Those who voted early will not have to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Here in New York state the concept of one-day voting remains in effect. We also continue to require that a person voting in a party primary has to be a registered member of that party.
Early voting could lead to several problems, including a person voting one way on the early ballot, and then changing his mind and wanting to vote in the general election for a different candidate.
There is a possibility that early voting trends will become known to some political leaders who will pass the information on to various candidates. That would have an effect on the final election results.
It could be said that this form of voting will at times lead to confusion at the polling places. The main reason for early voting is to make it easier for the voters. However, keeping control of the system and having a well-organized procedure is more important. To handle the large number of people voting, perhaps it could be held on two days instead of one, such as on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Having early votes cast and waiting for weeks until the main general election, could lead to votes being lost or misplaced.
Here in New York we do have absentee voting in which voters can send in their votes to the Board of Elections. Again the idea is to make it easier for the voters. The Board of Elections cannot be absolutely sure that the absentee vote came from the person who signed it.
In New York City when there is a close election the result is usually decided by counting absentee ballots. This procedure sometimes takes weeks. Having absentee ballots decide the outcome of elections is not the best way to achieve election results.
It is time for the state legislatures to improve their state election systems. We want to make voting easy and to do it in a timely manner. But the integrity of our democratic values must be maintained.
Voter registration has become another problem, in terms of removing inactive voters from the registration list to make sure that all those who are registered are valid. Hopefully, our democratic voting procedure will improve as voting technology advances.
Our democratic voting system has brought our government some great leaders as we can see in reviewing our national history. These leaders have made our country the leading superpower of the world.