Early voting creates a situation in which voters must fill in the blanks, spackling over important gaps with their own biases and assumptions. Everything from party affiliation to physical attractiveness and name recognition serves as a stand-in for an actual evaluation of the person.
Now think about all the questions that go unanswered with early voting. How does this candidate handle stress? Can this person answer questions consistently and present a coherent narrative of his or her views over time? Have all the issues in the candidate’s background been aired fully in a process of vetting that can take a lot longer than it takes to fill out an early ballot?
Advocates of early voting will counter that until America has a better system for capturing all votes — a national voting holiday, mandatory voting or any number of other schemes — then early voting is a good option for people who can’t make it to the ballot box in a single day.
Fair enough. Perhaps the answer is to have a 48-hour-voting period in which all campaigning must cease.