OUR VIEW: Early voters likely to miss key information

Early voting? Sure, you can vote now, but why?

We simply don't understand the urgency of voting weeks before Election Day, which seems to be a growing trend among U.S. voters.

It's estimated that as many as a quarter of all votes will be cast before Nov. 6, a growing stampede that will leave many voters casting ballots well before all the information is in.

Absentee ballots were first used during the Civil War and for decades were limited to people who simply could not be at the polls on Election Day.

Some states even required voters to sign an affidavit affirming they could not get to the polls. Typical excuses included military service, travel on Election Day or illness or infirmity.

But, starting in the 1970s, election officials began loosening the rules in hopes of expanding voter turnout. Now in more than half the states, including Maine, voters are allowed to request absentee ballots for no reason at all.

The Maine Secretary of State even provides an easy-to-use Web form for requesting an early ballot.

And there is absolutely no reason that people shouldn't obtain a ballot before Election Day. It gives them an opportunity to see what's on the ballot and think about it before casting their votes.

We've all had the experience of going into the polls and finding some issue or candidate that we're not familiar with. So, by all means, obtain a ballot and study the issues.

But a political campaign season is like a snowball, the information upon which a decision is based grows as we approach Election Day.

There will be one more presidential debate and weeks of electioneering to come. The candidates will make their points and momentum is likely to shift back and forth several times.

Locally, the Sun Journal will publish a special election guide on Oct. 30 featuring questions and answers from the candidates in the legislative races.

We wouldn't think of asking a jury to vote before both sides had made their cases and all of the information was in.

In 2010, some Mainers experienced a bit of early voting regret when independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler finally got his message out and surged against Paul LePage in the final weeks of the campaign.

Realizing that many voters had voted before he began climbing in the polls, Cutler's campaign even advised candidates to withdraw their absentee ballots and vote again.

Few did, but we can't help but wonder how many wished they had waited until they had all of the information before casting their ballots.

The right to vote is precious, and the issues before us are complex.

Voters should wait until they have the complete picture before voting.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

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Comments

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

waited too late

The SunJournal waited too late to get information out to voter--they knew about early voting well in advance and could have adjusted to the world of today. Hanging on to old ideas is what is causing newspapers to go out of business. If you had information you should have at least put it on your website early so people could have read it. Sticking to your old schedule makes you less important to people-- something you do not want to happen.' times they are a changing'the Sun Journal needs to adjust to meet the needs of the 21st century voters .

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Please make up your mind...

...while I am not a fan of early voting, as I think the opportunity for ballot tampering is increased, I grow weary of the "October Surprise" where a political candidate releases information just before election day, that may or may not be true, and gives the opposing candidate no time in which to respond to allegations.

Perhaps early voting will lead to an end to such practices, if that's the case it's a good idea. I guess we will now have the "September Surprise!" You can't make this stuff up!

I have one piece of advice for serious voters, MEET and QUESTION the candidates before you vote! Join me in voting for conservative candidates AS SOON AS YOU CAN!

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Why is that????

If someone is campaigning for lets say two years on a particular platform, I would hope that with two or three weeks, or even a month left in the election, his point is made. Instead the last month seems to be for back stepping. Everyone looks at what they have tried and determine what worked and what didn't. I have noticed that the last month seems to be more desperation than anything else. Getting elected is all that counts, the truth has no business in this mix. I personally find it difficult to be undecided this late in the game. I'm just curious, being this close to election day, and still being undecided, what would be the magic deciding factor, that puts someone over the top............

Steve  Dosh's picture

Early voters likely to miss key information

ed., 12.10.18 21:00 EST ?
Right ?
Of course, many of our minds are already made up . Some even vote a straight Democrat or Republican ticket when they get in the booth . Electonic voting is somewhat suspect . If you've ever used a computer you know what i am talking about . Remember the hanging chads in Flori - duh under Gov. Jeb Bush ? Wouldn't be the first stolen election in his story . The Bush dynasty . ...
We wait until the day of the election because of the fact we can physically be present , see friends and neighbors , and do our civic duty in plain and obvious sight of all concerned
It is a right and responsibility to vote - under our Constitution - and if you do not vote you only have yourself to blame when things don't turn out as you like
Some contires - r e q u i r e - their citizens to vote .Take Red China 'fer instance . ..
Vote or they win • /s Steve , former UN election observor in Guatemala

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

There should be NO early

There should be NO early voting. Everyone should be required to cast their votes on Election Day, irrespective of who, what, or where they are; no exceptions, except for maybe, military personnel.
Early voting is a great opportunity inducer for voter fraud. That's why the opponents of voter ID favor early voting so much. You know the mantra; vote early; vote often.

 's picture

Looney tune Propaganda

The only systematic voter fraud anyone has found is conservatives de-frauding prople they register to vote or more correctly not registering to vote; intimidating minority voters into not voting; and physically interfering with the voting process. Conservatives are trying to recruit 1 million thugs to obstruct voting places in minority districts. Everyone should be presecuted for obstructing government operations. Others are putting up billboards threating the arrest of anyone other than a Republican who committs voter fraud. Others are registering voters and then throwing away the registration forms of anyone who does not register republican. Others are changing the law making it impossible for legally qualified voters to vote. Others are using fraudulent felons lists to prevent legal voters from voting. The list of techniques used to prevent people from exercising their right to vote is as long as your arm.
No one can vote early and often.
Second, what information do we have to wait for. The phoney answers the Sun Journal gets from candidates who lie out of both sides of their mouths; a new Romney flip-flop or etch-a-sketch moment; a new Ryan lie. No one can trust any Republican based on the simple mantra of the Party - they are for the 1%. Being so they have to lie to the 99% to get their vote. The party that wrote (literally) a manual on how to obstruct the Congress, sabotage the economy, and weaken the government hardly has the moral worth to talk about voter fraud.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

So, what exactly is it about

So, what exactly is it about the system that bothers you, Jon?

 's picture

So...

...no one should vote before the Sun-Journal publishes it's special edition so it can make more money from the election. A couple of reasons for voting early - some of us do our homework and know for whom we will vote while others like to do their Christmas shopping on Christmas eve; avoiding crowds; avoiding politicians at the polls who want to shake your hand and be a friend for five seconds, then want you to go away and leave them alone.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I have to agree with you Bob.

I have to agree with you Bob. I work 80hrs a week and simply don’t have time to mess around standing in line at my polling location. I can simply fill out an absentee ballot at my convenience.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I suppose you realize that

I suppose you realize that the only ones on this page who believe you work 80 hrs. a week are the Pirate and the parrot.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

80 hours isn't to bad...

Try going to work in June and coming home sometime in July, A couple of years of that, and you don't even know what year it is anymore....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, but the money was good

Yeah, but the money was good and it was voluntary. We've all done something similar (at least those of us who bother working) at one time or another in our lives.

 's picture

"...(at least those of us who bother working)"

You say that as though people who work are in the minority. Or is this your way of getting in a "subtle" political dig?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Whichever shoe best fits you.

Whichever shoe best fits you.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I did not read it that way.

I did not read it that way. The phrase “at least those of us who bother working” has no inference to the number of those who don’t work. Let’s say for example, the population is 100 people. This statement is relevant if 1 of 100 don’t work or if 99 of 100 don’t work.

Perhaps a look in the mirror will reveal the individual attempting the political dig.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

10 "agrees" to our

10 "agrees" to our distinguished colleague.

 's picture

Whichever shoe best fits you.

Whichever shoe best fits you.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Catchy....did you make that

Catchy....did you make that up?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Paul, Be careful on where Bob

Paul,
Be careful on where Bob is trying to fit that shoe; the Parrot should remain seated.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot is well protected.

The parrot is well protected. He's wearing Jason's old HAZMAT suit.

 's picture

That should allow him...

...to safely run the gauntlet on voting day.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Last I heard he wasn't

Last I heard he wasn't running for political office. He promised his mother the last time he got out of parrot penitentiary that he would never go back to a life of crime. But then, here he is; a pirate's parrot.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You know, I’ve gotten to a

You know, I’ve gotten to a point in life where I’m extreme comfortable with my beliefs. That is, I really don’t care who believes what I say or not – I don’t need nor do I seek acceptance. Moreover, personal attacks from the likes of Ronald “Potty Mouth” Riml are meaningless and roll off my highly polished character like rain water.

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