Democrats get burned by their own 'early voting' shibboleth


The Democrats' Hail-Mary bid to fend off Bernie Sanders and unite behind Joe Biden, done by forcing several rival candidates to drop out at the last minute, had some unintended consequences.

Turns out Democratic voters who cast early ballots for the dropouts — Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg — aren't happy.

They shouldn't be.  It's totally true.  They wasted their votes, all because they heeded the Democrats' encouragement to vote early — as early as 45 days in some states.  If the contest really was going to be among Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, and Joe Biden, they might have liked a chance to pick someone still running.

They can thank their own Democratic leadership for that, because Democrats have been pushing for early voting for the last couple of election cycles with alacrity, claiming to themselves that it was a surefire way to manipulate the tally in their favor and achieve permanent power.  The claim was that it would boost turnout and "diversify" the electorate.

Here's the kind of claptrap they were fed last October, encouraging early voting, as reported by the New York Daily News:

"Early voting is a game-changer for New Yorkers who no longer have to choose between getting to work on time or exercising their democratic rights," Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY and the co-founder of Let NY Vote, said at a Washington Square Park rally to drum up interest. "We hope every New York voter will join us and vote early."

One problem: It left a lot of Democrats out on their ear, unable to change their votes after they were cast.  Can you say "sucker"?

Anyone who believed this rubbish kind of deserves to learn that the hard way, because the whole idea is flawed.  When balloting is extended over 45 days, who knows if the will of the voters is what is going to come out on election day?  And why stop at 45 days?  How about 100 days?  How about 365?  It renders the voter will meaningless, turning votes into push polls instead.

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent column on why early voting is such a bad idea:

No journalist would file a report predicting election results a month before the vote — things are just too in flux at that point. But for some bizarre reason, we think it's a great idea for voters to blindly cast their ballots up to 46 days before they're due. This is particularly nuts in primaries. At least in a general election, you have some degree of confidence who the candidates are and what the parties stand for.

Here's how it got started, he notes: 

The idea was born from widespread elite disgust over America's low voter turnout. Progressives in particular embraced the idea because many believed that if everyone voted, the left would sweep elections. That premise is flawed.

It's true that voting earlier lowers the "price" of participating in an election in terms of time and inconvenience. But that also means it cheapens the vote, which means people value it less.

Voter participation rates have long been seen as a good measure of civic commitment. When voting becomes easier, however, more people vote who are less engaged in politics.

In other words, Democrats expected to achieve permanent political power by reeling in the lo-fos who are sure to vote Democrat any which way they could by extending the time it took to get them to fill in the dots on the ballot.  It certainly explains why California, the most rigged of states for the Democrats, is such an enthusiast for the idea. 

But it ultimately stiffs voters — lo-fo or otherwise — who actually believed the Dems when they encouraged early voting as a civic best practice.  Whatever it is that gets counted from the early votes doesn't reflect what this sizable number of voters want now.  And now they know.

I've always been negative on the idea for two other reasons, and I think they are serious.

If one casts one's ballot 45 days early, it's going to go through a lot of hands over a period of several weeks, starting with the largely leftist U.S. Postal Service.  Should those guys be part of the chain of custody, given what we have read about their un-fireable denizens who pretty much do what they want?  What if one of them knows that you are a Republican or knows that your ZIP code is Republican?  Seems as if it would be a convenient matter to let a ballot slip down the gutter in some extended transport operation and carry on.  And it's not just they.  Forty-five days is time enough for anyone in the chain of custody to "lose" the inconveniently marked ballots, a lot more time than if the vote had to be counted the same night. Who knows if such early voting ballots will make it into the voting box at all? Votes should go into a box immediately within sight of the actual voter and be counted that night. We have the tech to do it, and even if we didn't, paper ballots have always served American representative democracy very, very well.

Here's the second problem: California sells this idea to voters in public service ads as a matter of getting their votes counted early, implicitly suggesting they should avoid a hanging-chad debacle, because voting early is the responsible thing to do.

If the ballots are counted early...then someone knows the result.

Will that result leak to the Democrats? Will it become intelligence for them (like internal polls) about where they are in trouble, where the race is razor thin, and where to step up get-out-the-vote efforts for their own side? On election day, will such information from early counts provide information to the ballot-harvesters on where to go to get the total in their favor? Seems likely. The Democratic machinery could save a lot of time and effort if they know ahead of time where their efforts are going to yield the highest results. They'll need fewer volunteers and less people around, too, meaning, the elites will have it easier.

This sounds like a recipe for corruption, and it's probably already going on in California.

One hopes that sufficient numbers of Democratic voters will be disheartened enough by this experience to make them at least not engage in early voting, a sucker's game given the machinations of the Democratic leadership, which has no problem leaving them in the cold about their choices, in their bid to Beat Bernie Sanders. If the laws can't be changed, voters still have it within their power to take this to heart and leave the voting decision to the actual election day.  

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