Talk:Early voting

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Voter intimidation

The page says that early voting "facilitates voter intimidation, particularly by unions and large employers that try to increase turnout by their people." Could someone please explain this? As I understand it, the ballot is still secret, and voters are free to spoil their ballot without anyone knowing. I personally think that increased lawful participation in democracy makes our government better. GregG 12:04, 13 October 2012 (EDT)

Studies show that overall turnout is not increased by early voting. If anything, it detracts from the respect of Election Day.--Andy Schlafly 10:15, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
You did not answer the question. How does early voting "facilitate voter intimidation." ?
It's obvious: union bosses and employers tell the rank and file to vote early, and may even drive them to the polls. That is not voting free from all intimidation.--Andy Schlafly 21:14, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
The only intimidation I can see that's unique to early voting is pressuring voters to make up their minds before Election Day. The practice of employers or churches bus their employees or parishoners to the polls could just as easily be done on Election Day itself. So, to the extent that such practices are bad, I don't see how that is caused by extending early voting or no-fault absentee voting. GregG 12:51, 28 October 2012 (EDT)

Need sources

An encyclopedia article needs to be more than personal opinion and should have sources. The sentence, "The less the early voting, the more integrity there is in the process, and the more likely it is the Republican candidate will win.:" is not necessarily true and is certainly not true over a long period of time. But there is no caveat as to what time period is address. The only text reference is to the year 2010. I can think of states where early voting was disproportionately for the Republican candidate. Wschact 10:01, 27 October 2012 (EDT)

I'll look for cites, but the truth of the statement is self-evident.--Andy Schlafly 10:14, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
It is not self-evident nor universally applicable. Suppose there is a state with a popular Republican US Senator who is polling at 70%. He will get 70% of the early vote. If there is a hurricane on election day and only very few hard core supporters vote on that day, he may get only 50% of election day votes. Wschact 10:19, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
"The truth of the statement is self-evident." That's a great way to avoid having to back up assertions with empirical data. Have you ever tried that on a judge? MattyD 10:23, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
Folks, do you look for cites on the internet? They are not hard to find, and I've just added two.--Andy Schlafly 21:12, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
Well, you have some anecdotal evidence, nothing that suggests a wider pattern, but it's a start, so that's an improvement. Next time, don't wait for people to beg you for citations. Learn how to make and document an argument properly. MattyD 21:22, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
How about looking first on the internet, before complaining? The statements about the defects in early voting are logical.--Andy Schlafly 21:29, 27 October 2012 (EDT)
Thank you for your copy edit of my copy edit. Much better. However 7 p.m. + 7 hours = 2 a.m. not 4 a.m. I still believe that generalizations need to be limited to "in 2012" or "in Colorado" etc. Wschact 21:36, 27 October 2012 (EDT)

Depending on the state (for instance, early votes cast in Florida tend to buck the trend by being overwhelmingly Republican), a quick glance over some sources does lead me to reluctantly agree with Andy that early voting does tend to give a slight advantage to Democratic candidates (enough to sway the results of a close election). This is because the demographics most likely to vote early are the elderly (who usually vote Republican), racial minorities (who usually vote for Democrats), and blue collar workers (who also trend towards the Democrats). Given the reasons most often cited for voting early, which are convenience, having to work on election day, and having already decided who to vote for, this is not particularly surprising. It does not, however, appear that this is has anything to do with voter intimidation or any other underhanded tactics; its just the nature of the process. (here are links to the sources I looked over, link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4. --JHunter 09:33, 28 October 2012 (EDT)

You're either assuming that those people would somehow vote otherwise if they waited until election day or advocating that citizens--and last I checked, Democrats are still citizens--should be denied the franchise because it just so happens that a particular voting pattern tends to get out one party's votes in a particular way. What's the next step on that slope? MattyD 09:50, 28 October 2012 (EDT)
In my opinion, restrictive voter ID laws like those in Texas and (before it was essentially gutted of its worst elements by the state during the preclearance process) South Carolina. Also, restrictions on voter registration as found in Texas and Florida. But this is just my opinion. Regardless, I think making it easier for eligible voters to exercise the franchise is something to be commended, not condemned. GregG 12:41, 28 October 2012 (EDT)
There is nothing inherently "Republican" about those demographics or about the pros and cons of early voting. The impact of early voting depends on the relative popularity of the candidates. We should not present these statements as timeless truths, when there are so many variables. What is a good strategy for Republicans like Arnold S in California or Paul Ryan in Wisconsin will not apply to Michele Bachmann in Minnesota. Our readers (including teenagers) are counting on us to give them a straight-forward article on early voting. Saying it helps Republicans or Democrats is far removed from the essence of the idea of early voting, because it depends on who are the candidates and the nature of the jurisdiction. Wschact 21:45, 28 October 2012 (EDT)
Early voting infringes on the right not to vote. For example, it subjects union workers to repeated harassment over a period of days or weeks until they vote.--Andy Schlafly 22:19, 28 October 2012 (EDT)
That is not a result of "early voting" but rather of the state laws that give political parties access to the list of people who vote early or absentee. In a jurisdiction that allow early voting and keeps the list secret, there is no possibility of organized follow through. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on corporations where management told their workers how to vote, including statements that if the wrong candidates won, they might have to shut the plant. So, harassment goes both ways. Wschact 06:56, 29 October 2012 (EDT)
Plus, if a voter decides that they don't want to vote, he or she can always spoil the ballot. GregG 10:50, 29 October 2012 (EDT)

What effect will Hurricane Sandy have on early voting? Will it sway the result toward one candidate? --Ed Poor Talk 10:53, 29 October 2012 (EDT)

I have added Gov. McDonnell's request to expand in-person absentee polling hours in Virginia. There may be similar moves in other states. The storm has shifted campaign schedules and GOTV efforts. Thank goodness none of the candidates have tried to blame the storm on their opponent. With the power out, the bombardment of negative television adds and robocalls has ceased. Wschact 05:45, 30 October 2012 (EDT)

Additional States and voter rolls

It is my understanding that Oregon and Washington only allow voting by mail--if so, wouldn't they qualify as states which allow early voting? Also, it is my understanding that all states provide lists of citizens who have voted in each election, so wouldn't that also allow intimidation?

Since making these edits would constitute "substantial changes" I thought it wise to discuss them here first.

Thanks, WilliamWB 09:56, 13 November 2012 (EST)

Yes, you're right. Oregon and Washington are 100% early voting ... and as result it is virtually impossible for a Republican to win there. Please add your good suggested edits to the content page.--Andy Schlafly 10:22, 13 November 2012 (EST)
The problem is that they are not "swing states" or "battle ground states" so that they do not belong in this particular table. Wschact 07:18, 15 November 2012 (EST)
You are correct that they are not swing states, though I hope that instead of burring information on Washington and Oregon at the bottom of the article, we could expand the table since the article is about early voting and not early voting in swing states. Also, for the record, I disagree with your use of quotes around early voting in that section since ever vote that is cast before election day is, by definition, early. In line with this common sense approach, I will edit that contribution accordingly. EDITED TO ADD:I see that you also removed a line noting that all states release lists of those who voted after an election. This information is correct, and was discussed prior to insertion on this talk page. Since you removed it without discussion, am editing the article to re-include it--pending your response. Thanks, WilliamWB 12:44, 15 November 2012 (EST)
It is true that most (if not all) states make the list of registered voters available after the election, including whether the particular voter participated in the primary or general election. It is also true that many states make list of early voters or absentee voters available during the period before election day, which will allow campaigns to taylor their voter contacts in light of who has already voted and who has not. Neither of these is necessarily related to voter intimidation. For example, a campaign might want to contact past voters on the assumption that they are more likely to vote in the next election as well. Similarly, if a campaign knows that someone has already voted early, then the campaign will not waste time or money contacting them again in its GOTV efforts. While making such data public is specified in various state laws, the fact that it is public is not evidence that voter intimidation in fact occurs. If an argument is being constructed that there is voter intimidation of early voters, then the fact that the list of all voters is also made public after the election is completely irrelevant to the argument. Thanks for all that you do for CP. Wschact 16:31, 15 November 2012 (EST)
Please respect the difference between "early voting", "convenience voting", "absentee voting" and "postal voting." Political scientists have assigned exact definitions to each. Thanks, Wschact 16:33, 15 November 2012 (EST)
Thank you for your informative post. I have reviewed the literature over the past few days (you may be interested to know I hold a political science degree, although I am not an americanist). I would merely note that the literature does not draw such black and white lines--for example, Burden et al, include postal voting and no excuse absentee voting as examples of early voting. Election Laws, Mobilization, and Turnout:The Unanticipated Consequences of Election Reform, 2010 That said I will respect your edits. I would encourage you to consider the level at which this project is written--that is, how useful is graduate level term definition? One final topic: you'll note that my edit regarding state voter rolls never speculated as to the purpose of releasing the information, merely that such information was released. You must have been thinking of a later section regarding impacts. Thanks, WilliamWB 12:13, 18 November 2012 (EST)

re: claim that early voting undermines voter ID

I reverted this edit because it does not have a solid factual basis. First of all, some of the early voting states listed in the article do not even have voter ID laws in effect (Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina). Second of all, some strict photo ID states like Georgia have no-excuse absentee balloting as a failsafe to prevent disenfranchisement of voters who may otherwise like photo ID. See Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups, 504 F.Supp.2d 1333, 1379 (2007). Finally, the edit ignores laws of states like Illinois, which require early voters (such as Obama this election) to present ID, but not Election Day voters. GregG 20:32, 13 November 2012 (EST)

EDITED TO ADD: Incidentally, you might be interested to know that Georgia's 2005 photo ID act (HB 244, Act 53) also instituted no-excuse absentee voting. Additionally, from my reading of the trial documents in South Carolina v. U.S., the supporters of photo voter ID saw no-excuse absentee voting as a concession that could be offered to secure compromise. GregG 20:59, 13 November 2012 (EST)

How exactly does it disenfranchise?

If the process is entirely voluntary and allows people to vote who otherwise might not be able to do, how is it in any way hindering others from voting? Is it somehow more sacrosanct to vote a month later? SteveSpagnola 21:05, 22 November 2012 (EST)

Not "more sancrosanct," but more informed to vote on Election Day. If 99% of the electorate vote early before campaigns are over, then the conscientious voter who does his due diligence by voting on Election Day has been disenfranchised from his vote being meaningful. To the extent early voting is less than 99%, the degree of disenfranchisement scales accordingly.--Andy Schlafly 21:19, 22 November 2012 (EST)
You keep claiming that those who vote on Election Day are more informed, but that's hogwash. Campaigns are largely meaningless, you know who you are going to vote for by and large before the conventions. Anyone who hasn't formed an opinion by the time most early voting takes place probably isn't paying close enough attention to make an informed choice by the time Election Day rolls around. And really, how many of those who vote early are going to change their mind? I would probably say almost none, and therefore it's hardly "disenfranchising" for the results to be moved up a month. Seriously, your whole argument is based on the flawed premise that large swaths of people change their minds in September and October. For the VAST majority (I can confidently say at least 80-90 percent) the decision isn't changing, so why shouldn't they be allowed to vote early? SteveSpagnola 21:34, 22 November 2012 (EST)
Due diligence requires awaiting completion of presentation of the "evidence" - i.e., campaigns. Jurors who keep their mind open until the end are performing their duty better than those who rush to judgment early. Voters certainly do change their mind just prior to Election Day; polls confirm that millions remain undecided until they cast their votes.--Andy Schlafly 21:41, 22 November 2012 (EST)
Yeah, no, that argument fails on so many levels, most importantly in that a candidate's major goals and beliefs have long since been outlined long before election day. The difference between October and November is a month of gaffes and attack ads that don't sway anyone.
See: Luks , Samantha, Joanne Miller, and Lawrence Jacobs . "Who Wins? Campaigns and the Third Party Vote." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 33.1 (2003): 9-30.
Lazarsfeld, Paul, Bernard Berelson, and Helen Gaudet. 1944. The people's choice. New York: Duell, Sloane, & Pearce.
Most people who vote are doing so for any number of reasons: most of them having to do with partisanship, the economic performance of the previous 18 months, and pervious voting patterns. Honestly, it makes sense, you would never have voted for Obama no matter when you voted, and most people who voted for President made their decision a long time ago. The fact of the matter remains, candidates are not a single decision such as in a trial, but part of a continuum of partisan decisions, with very few exceptions.
I should also point out that the study does confirm that traits such as leadership, morals, and other valeus doe matter, but only as far as third party candidates, and very rarely for the Democrat-Republican paradigm. I would also concede that the findings of the first study find minimal difference by major campaigns can tip elections in a very divided electorate, but I would also argue that this does not change the fact that the people who are voting early are the people who are most ideologically driven and therefore less likely to fall into the small group affected by the elections. SteveSpagnola 21:46, 22 November 2012 (EST)

HB 244 in Georgia

The bill, as introduced by Sue Burmeister (R-119th), did not contain no-excuse absentee voting or (as far as I can tell) a photo ID provision. In the rules committee substitute (, section 48 was added to provide for no-excuse absentee voting. Given the Republican control of the Georgia Legislature in the 2005-06 session, the Republicans could have easily removed the early voting provision and passed the remaining bill (indeed, other amendments to the bill were defeated in the House). Further, this ignores that Georgia pointed to the existence of no-excuse absentee voting as evidence that no eligible voters would be disenfranchised by voter photo ID. GregG 22:19, 22 November 2012 (EST)

The Georgia bill is more than 5 years ago, making its value questionable. Regardless, can I infer that the Dems added the absentee voting amendment?--Andy Schlafly 23:31, 22 November 2012 (EST)
Well, it is the operative statute under which voters in Georgia are allowed to cast absentee ballots without excuse. I can do more research on the legislative history of the amendment in committee. I honestly don't know who introduced it or who in committee voted for it (although, if US Congress is any indication, the Rules Committee would be stacked with Republicans). Regardless, treating a no-fault absentee voting provision as extremely liberal seems to conflict with the legislative history, which shows the bill passing the House on a mostly party-line vote with Republicans in favor. GregG 23:36, 22 November 2012 (EST)
The bill as a whole apparently passed on a party-line vote, with the Republicans in favor, but the no-excuse absentee ballot provision was unlikely an amendment offered by a conservative or even a Republican.--Andy Schlafly 00:06, 23 November 2012 (EST)
Well the Republicans didn't have to adopt it. In fact, on the floor of the Senate, there were amendments to the bill that were defeated. They could have easily killed no-excuse absentee balloting, but decided not to. And, in any case, the State of Georgia used the no-excuse absentee voting provisions to defend photo ID from a constitutional attack. GregG 00:22, 23 November 2012 (EST)

The problem is that legislative history of laws in Georgia are virtually non-existent. Each year, there is one law review article summarizing the session, but that is about it. This is not like the US Congress where legislative history has been documented for at least a century. Wschact 01:06, 23 November 2012 (EST)