The 2016 Presidential race is nearly behind us with the final votes being cast and counted tomorrow, and potentially into the wee hours of Wednesday in certain places. This race and this election seem to have gone on for a long, long time given all the various state rules and regulations about when and how early voting can be accomplished.
Huge percentages of voters elected (no pun intended) to cast their ballots early since each state has the ability to set its own rules and regulations on the matter. This has troubled me for some time since it seems there might be too may opportunities for shenanigans when there is this piecework quilt of rules with which to abide. We know that campaigns are built to take advantage of each state’s rules to benefit their particular candidates, and that is fine when there are so many different rules in place state-by-state. It is not illegal, but maybe it ought to be.
BUT, might this be also part of the reason that there are dirty tricks played every election; some we learn of and others we can only speculate about. It seems obvious to me that with the continual reporting of this and that about each candidate, there is often a benefit to having the votes all locked up before bad news appears that might’ve influenced voters to vote differently.
I still think that each state ought to be able to make its own rules as to the boundaries for precincts and voting districts based on population changes, but I am very concerned that such irregular voting starts have an impact. Frankly, if that were not the case why would various candidates’ teams work feverishly to gather votes at such early dates? Might this be out of fear that later revelations of misconduct or campaign lies might not be so influential if a voter has already voted?
There is, of course, the potential that late-breaking news about a candidate that was previously little known or entirely unknown could have either a positive or a negative impact and that the other candidate(s) might benefit from uniform regulations state-by-state on early voting.
If all candidates and all campaigns were lily white, the timing of votes being cast would be of little consequence. I don’t think you or I will live long enough to witness such an election on a national scope. Local races are, in my opinion, fair and honest because they are local and it is more difficult to fool people. There is a reason for the old saying that “you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time”. It is a truism, unfortunately.
There are those we tend to label ‘low information’ voters who simply follow the lead of their elders set out over time, and who would vote the same way no matter what was said about their candidate of choice. There are others who are easily suckered, yes that is the word of choice, into supporting a person simply because of a past event or a successful sporting career or some other achievement. There are those who have no real political beliefs, other than those from the family culture in which they were raised, and who tend to vote for whatever the party was for which their family has always cast votes. They vote ‘for the party’ and not for a particular candidate. Democrats/liberals seem to love this group of reliable voters.
Early voting tends to blunt late-race revelations which might’ve had a greater impact on the outcomes. For example, what if Hillary Clinton would’ve been held accountable for the e-mail issues discovered (although the FBI seems unable to get out of its own way this time around, even with a second shot at the target). There might be a medical condition that affects a person in the race which would necessarily affect early voters’ decisions. Hillary Clinton might well have some medical issues given past occurrences, but those states that have locked up the early votes cast would deny their citizens the right to choose another candidate had those proved serious to the public prior to the general election.
I think it would be worth debate to determine what people think about the crazy quilt rules governing races state-by-state. I believe state-by-state uniformity is critical to assure as fair a race as is possible each time and every time. States would have rights to set their own rules in state-wide and community-only races not tied to any federal races, but all votes involving a federal seat would be governed ticket-wide similarly state-by-state to assure uniformity and the least possible vote manipulation. I believe this would assure as honest an election result as is possible without the potential for vote manipulation by unscrupulous players…all of whom shall go unnamed since they are found across parties if given the opportunity. It is just too tempting…and too unfair to other voters no matter their location.
It is unfortunate, but there are too many who would play games if we permit games to be played as is now the case.