Is early voting going to sink Trump before he can turn things around?

No matter which way the roller coaster ride of the presidential polls go from here, there’s no arguing that Donald Trump has hit a rough patch on the electoral trail. It seems amazing that someone as untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton could be leading a race for anything more important than dog catcher in a town where Cruella de Vil is the mayor, but hey… it’s been an unusual year. Still, Trump supporters constantly remind us that there’s still plenty of time to turn things around. I say this myself on a nearly daily basis here. But is it true?

Our good friend and occasional Hot Air contributor Andrew Malcolm offers some perhaps unwelcome news at McClatchy today on that score. Voting is starting sooner than you might think and a lot of it will be wrapped up and locked in well before your kids head out for trick or treating.

Aides say there’s plenty of time left for the unorthodox, unpopular candidate to build or regain momentum.

But here’s a news flash: It may be 11 weeks until the presidential votes are counted. But it’s only four weeks until voters by the millions begin casting their ballots.

Currently, 34 states allow early voting while three more do all voting by mail, negating that need.

Early voting is changing the timing, tempo and content of what is already a truly awkward, expensive and cumbersome presidential selection process.

No matter whether it benefits the candidate you happen to support or it hurts them, this should be of concern to everyone who votes. The idea of “greater voter access” is a rallying cry among Democrats and it’s frequently tied into accusations of racism, sexism, agism and every other ism under the sun when it comes to Republicans. But the reality, as we’ve discussed here before, is that everyone in each state gets precisely the same opportunity to vote. The only question comes in terms of which state you live in.

As Andrew goes on to note, there are now three states where all of the voting will be done entirely by mail and that process will end well before election day. South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa all begin voting in September and the election isn’t until November. All in all, more than one third of the votes in this presidential election will be cast early. Compare that to the safely blue state of New York. Out here we get a grand total of fourteen hours to vote on a single Tuesday (with the exception of absentee – not early voting – ballots). That would be considered scandalous and unfair to minorities were it being done in any state the Democrats might actually lose.

I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of some early voting within a reasonable window. It might be nice to run the elections in all the states from Saturday through Tuesday, just to maximize the free time available for most people to get to the polls. But these months long windows are idiotic. Any number of new developments could break during that extensive period which could lead a voter to change their minds. But once your ballot is locked in it’s too late to go back and do anything about it. If nothing else, a shorter voting window means a better informed electorate. It’s a lesson we’re being painfully slow to learn and one which could be coming to bite Trump in the rump this year.


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