Pros Outweigh Cons for Early Voting
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
Every four years, our campus comes alive with political commentary, debate and discussion. This past Tuesday night, the Internet stalled as many students tried to stream the second presidential debate. In 2004, students famously waited in line for 11 hours to vote, and in general, voter turnout is always high here in Gambier. We have the Center for the Study for American Democracy to keep us political even in the off-years, and this year, Kenyon is hosting an Ohio congressional debate on campus — the first time it has done so in decades.
So, true to form, Kenyon students have taken up a political debate that’s been making national news lately: the question of whether or not we, and other Ohio voters, should go to the polls early.
There’s no question that early voting is a trend that has only gained momentum in recent years. Early voting has only been around in Ohio since 2005, but in the last election, almost 30 percent of total votes were cast before Election Day.
Proponents of early voting say people should vote as early as possible. If your registration is wrong or another problem arises, there’s more time to fix it. And the more people who vote early, the shorter the lines at the polls will be come Nov. 6.
And since early ballots are counted with regular election day ballots, voters don’t lose out by casting their vote early, as they would with a provisional ballot. For busy parents and business people — and students who don’t want to miss their Tuesday classes — early voting seems like the perfect solution.
But early voting isn’t an undisputed good. Some argue it should only be available to people who physically can’t be at the polls on Election Day, and Republicans have taken issue with early voting laws, saying they contribute to voter fraud. If people have made time to vote on Election Day for over 200 years, why break tradition now?
Well, without a doubt, the positives of early voting — it clears up poll lines and allows room to fix any potential registration problems — far outweigh the negatives. Even the issue of voter fraud is trivial — since 2000, according to the News21 Voting Rights Project, a miniscule .000003 percent of votes were fraudulent.
Whatever your opinion, what matters most is that you vote. Vote early or on Election Day, and for whomever you want. What’s important is that your vote is cast. This election is shaping up to be a close one, so get to the polls — today, tomorrow or on Nov. 6 — to make sure your vote counts.