Most American voters still cast their ballot in person on Election Day, and candidates take advantage of that. They sit on opposition research and release it at the last moment: just in time for the public to digest it, but not so early that their opponents can rebut the charges. They flood the airwaves with ads right before the race and generally do anything they can get away with during the final pre-election sprint.
But vote-by-mail would alleviate these problems by shifting the entire campaign earlier and adding a more deliberative voting period. Candidates would no longer want to sit on their opposition research — if they did, they’d lose the opportunity to persuade the huge segment of voters who would send in their ballots early. Reporting and analysis would likewise move forward in the election cycle. Once the voting period began, Americans would have more time to sort through that reporting, process what they’ve heard and vote at their leisure.
Vote counting would also become a less intense experience if poll workers and state officials had more time to do it. Reporters wouldn’t need to quickly swat away false rumors of a “rigged” election or unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud in the space of one short evening. We could instead take our time and use the extended vote-counting period to fight misinformation and deliver the truth to more readers.