How many early voters want their votes back?
On Tuesday night, we finally saw Lt. Governor John Fetterman debate GOP candidate Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. It was painful to watch. By the end, I felt sorry for Fetterman and was angry at his family for allowing this to happen. How does a wife permit this? How badly does she want to be a senator's wife?
According to Reuters, Democrats are in massive damage control. Here is a bit of that:
"I don't know anyone, even the most staunch Fetterman supporters, who think that went well last night," a senior Pennsylvania Democrat told Reuters on Wednesday.
Yes, that's an honest Democrat speaking anonymously.
Here is a bigger problem. Huge numbers of voters cast their ballots already:
Nearly half of all vote-by-mail ballots in Pennsylvania had already been cast before Tuesday night's U.S. Senate debate, which was judged a disaster — even by Democrats — after Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), recovering from a stroke, struggled to form coherent sentences.
Fetterman had sought to avoid a debate, and his campaign has restricted his public appearances.. When he finally agreed to one, Democrats sought to delay the debate until ballots were already being cast by mail, since Democrats are more likely to use that method and more of the party's vote would already be cast.
We are talking about 48% of all the mail-in ballot votes. The Wall Street Journal explained the implications: "Assuming this year's final turnout ends up being similar, then roughly 10% of the vote could be already cast for Mr. Fetterman or Mr. Oz, before the public even has a chance to see them mix it up on TV."
Are those Democrats who were encouraged to vote early? Or motivated GOP voters angry over inflation? We will learn soon.
Going forward, I hope that state legislatures stop this early voting. It does no one any good for people to cast ballots before the debates or even the campaign starts.
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to clarify that the 48% number referred to mail-in ballots, not to all ballots.
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Image: Gov. Tom Wolf.