Early voting starts today in Florida.
Early voting should not be confused with absentee voting.
Absentee voting is where you or someone pretending to be you asks to be sent a ballot, and then you or they fill it out with any number of close friends watching. Absentee balloting is a rolling feast, which I think began some time ago.
Early voting is just like regular voting, complete with new optical scanning voting machines, except the hours and locations are different. You can't do it in as many places, nor for as many hours in the day.
Eye on Miami kindly provides a guide, Miami Dade Early Voting Where and When.
I've never voted early — there's something about the democratic ritual of the polls, plus the convenience of the local site, only a few blocks from home, that makes it very appealing, even as I wonder whether it should be legal to use a Catholic Church as a place to hold state balloting on state constitutional amendments regarding things like abortion or gay marriage. Might it sway some religious Catholic voters on some issues? But I digress.
I'm somewhat tempted to try early voting this year, as I think the lines at the polls will be long. But I hear they will probably be long at the early voting stations too.
Voting early really helps the GOTV effort for your party and your candidate. In my state, the lists that the Obama campaign works with are updated daily. When I vote early, my name is removed from the list, and they no longer need to spend resources (time, money) to contact me and get out my vote. That means they can concentrate on a smaller pool of potential votes. Smaller pool means more focused effort. (It also means fewer calls to your house!)
Also, if you vote now, your vote is cast and will be counted. If a poll watcher tries to challenge your registration, you have time to do something about it. If you wait till election day, there are fewer options.
I have never voted early, but I’m working at an early voting site next Saturday handing out literature, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to vote while I’m there.
Well if Catholics can be influenced to cast their vote for something like a gay marraige amendment and abortion because of the location of a polling place (a Catholic church meeting hall) , then can people who vote at a public school be influenced on education questions? I was once a poll worker in a precinct that voted in a Baptist church. Do you think that the people who voted there would be influenced by the location?
My voting place is a “retirement village”, would you think that could nudge me to vote for more help for Senior Sitizens or Medicare legislation?
If my voting place were a recreation center supported by my tax dollars would I be influenced enough to vote in favor of bond issues to fund more such facilities?
I don’t think location has anything to do with how you vote, unless you can’t find the stupid place and then you’d be angry at the idiots in local government who selected it and made it impossible to find.
Please vote early. I get your emotional thrill, I do, but think of it this way. It feels luxurious because it is a luxury, with opportunity costs for others. If you vote the day of, you will be one extra person in a line. Someone less committed to this election than you (or just someone who has a job that allows a short window of voting time) will see that line and walk away. I worry this may especially happen with newly registered voters. The more all of us can do to make the lines shorter that day, the more that others can vote. Especially in Florida, that matters. Until voting officials make it easy for everyone to vote on election day without lines, the opportunity to vote that day is a scarce resource that should not be horded or enjoyed for the luxury that it is (for anyone who can vote early).
We act like having to que in a line for voting is SUCH a big deal. Yet we marvel at places in foreign countries where voter begin lining up days in advance for jut the “chance” to cast a ballot in a free election. So, to make it easier on us poor voters they even give us multiple times andlocations in which to vote, and still there will be complainers.
I say VOTE. VOTE early, or on the day, or by mail…but VOTE.
What shoudl matter is not your personal “thrill” experience. It’s the fact that you CAN vote, and are encouraged to do so.
But I do think the long line is a big deal for lots of people in jobs who are not given the time off. It is also a reality that I hope Michael and others will keep in mind when he/they choose how to vote. I did not mean to say I wanted him to enable tepid voters who cannot wait 12 minutes. I read about lines that take hours and I think that is fundamentally wrong (esp since that inconvenience is not equally distributed to suburbs). I hope he and others will mute that impact by early voting.