How election day was replaced by election month

It’s hard to exaggerate how much “convenience” voting has taken hold of our election process. North Carolina started mailing out absentee ballots on September 7, only one day after Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination in Charlotte. A total of 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow early voting. Key swing states such as Virginia, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina are either already allowing or about to allow people to cast ballots.

“We’ve evolved to the point where every day is Election Day,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told National Journal. “It used to be that there was always tomorrow in a campaign — ‘We’re down, but we’re going to come back tomorrow.’ Well, now tomorrow never comes, to quote the Bond movie. Because it’s always Election Day, it takes away some of your hope if you’re down. And it increases the pressure on you, because at every minute, somebody is voting and they’re closing the book on you.” The growth of absentee and early voting also aids candidates with the biggest bankroll, because a campaign now needs the resources to mobilize voters to turn out not only on a single day but over a long period of time. It also means more advertising on TV and more money spent — things people tell pollsters they dislike about politics today…

But “in anything but very low-turnout local elections, absentee and early voting do not increase turnout,” John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told Congress in 2010. “Essentially, the same people who would go to a polling place to vote on Election Day are motivated to vote by mail or to show up at early-voting polling places. New voters are not attracted to elections because of these processes.”