Friday, August 26, 2005

Early voting is no joke

A nice column in the Chicago Sun Times by Mark Brown (courtesy of (thanks Doug!) comments on the impact of early voting in Illinois.

Marc does a good job identifying the impact of the change. I'd add a few points.

  • The "groundhog" day quote way, came from an Oregon GOTV organizer about a decade ago and has been reused over and over again. It's often attributed to Congressman David Wu but that's also wrong.
  • Marc is right about field organization with early voting. What will be critical is if Illinois (or the counties) make the voter records available before the election. For instance, in Oregon, I can find out the date that your ballot was processed (it is a public record), and therefore can *stop* calling you once you have cast your ballot.
  • There is dramatic variation in the ease and costs of getting this information. We don't know yet how Illinois will handle this.
  • In other early voting states, the systems have benefitted Republicans because a) more early voters are Republicans and b) mobilizing the early vote is a cost intensive process, benefitting the better funded party. The third reason is purely speculative on my part at this time, but early voting will detach many voters from the ongoing campaign, thus hurting a party (like the Dems) that rely relatively more on people rather than capital.

Story referenced here:


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