In 2008, President Obama took a big swing through Florida, starting 18 days before Election Day. I describe this in a forthcoming book chapter as the first get out the early vote rally in 2008.
It looks like the campaign is starting even early this year. At a recent appearance in Iowa, Obama urged his supporters to start casting their ballots on Sept. 27, the first day you can vote “absentee in person” in the Hawkeye State.
I applaud Secy of State John Husted’s decision in Ohio to set uniform times for early voting throughout the state of Ohio.
I disagree with the legislature’s decision to eliminate weekend early voting, which is utilized by many citizens who have less flexibility during the week. Also, as shown by the National Conference of State Legislature’s absentee and early voting page and reflected in our early voting calendar, 11 early voting states are able to end early voting the Monday before election day, and 5 more end on the Saturday before. 12 states require at least one Saturday or Sunday opening and in other states, counties are given the flexibility to open on the weekends (we have no data on how many actually choose to do so).
Data that we have reported previously at EVIC shows that the number of early voters climbs day by day as election day approaches, most often peaking on the last day or two (typically the weekend before). I recognize the challenges of preparing for election day when early voting has ended only a day or two before, as well as the budgetary constraints faced by many jurisdictions. (This latter, however, should be offset by election day savings when 20-40% of votes have already been cast.)
Nonetheless, Secretary Husted, by all reports, took into due consideration the opinions of local election officials, the legislature, and competing political forces. He threaded the needle superbly, and has rendered a fair and non-partisan decision.
He should be applauded for doing so, and setting a standard for expert, non-partisan election administration.
Rick is one of the nation’s leading legal experts in election law, including campaign finance, voting technology, and voting rights. His new book, The Voting Wars, has already garnered a lot of press coverage. Rick is known to many through the Election Law blog, a daily update of election law news and commentary.
To top it off, Rick is a dear friend, and is unfailingly warm and collegial. This should be a fun and provocative event.
(Crossposted to Earlyvoting.net)
I’ve been contacted about the early voting calendar for 2012. We are finalizing this document now, but a link to our 2010 calendar may help guide some reporters and advocates. The caveat, of course, is that a number of states (Florida and Ohio most notably) have made changes to the period for early voting, and these are NOT incorporated a new calendar as yet.
Also, it’s important to pay attention to the level and type of absentee voting in a state. While Kentucky is listed as the first early voting state in 2010, because the state mailed their domestic absentee ballots in mid-September, Kentucky had less than 5% ballots cast absentee. In 2010, the first early voting state with substantial levels of non-precinct place voting was Georgia, and their laws have changed.
I’m in this week’s Electionline Weekly, talking about the U.S. Votes Foundation’s new registration and absentee ballot portal. (Apologies to Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, I referred to them as “AVF” and not “USVF” in my comments).
Karl Kurtz of The Thicket provides some additional information on legislative turnover rates in state houses.
Ok, I just couldn’t resist this story from the Fargo Forum, or the image above (courtesy of the Western Australia Office of Travel and Tourism), which sure looks like an old Holiday Inn sign!
Election officials have to find space where they can, and in some locations, facilities that are large, have parking, reliable (and sufficient) power, an internet connection, parking, are ADA compliant, and to top it off, can be rented for just a few weeks might be far and few between.
In Fargo, it looks like two local motels are just the kind of short term rental space that LEO’s need:
Early voting is available this week to all eligible Cass County voters at the following locations:
• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., today through Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn & Suites, 4351 17th Ave S. in Fargo and at the Lodoen Kindergarten Center, 330 3rd Ave. E. in West Fargo.
• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday at the Days Inn, 2050 Governors Drive in Casselton.
And Nathan’s hotel? Well, at least it’s “cleanish.”