I am sorry but Early Voting is too long. Eight days is too many days. This is coming from a person who initiately opposed Early Voting when it started in 2008. I have changed my thought a bit as I have learned to not only accept Early Voting, but I am starting to like it.
It does have the benefits of beating the Election Day crowd and it gives voters a chance to meet most of their favorite local candidates at the polls (candidates cannot be at all 30 precincts on Election Day, but they can attend the Early Voting site in their district). However; the Early Voting experience can be done in three to five days instead of eight days.
As someone who worked the polls for campaigns (including my own) eight days is a lot. Many Democrats, who I will not mention, agreed that eight days is too many. While I don’t expect anyone to shed a tear for candidates that must brave the heat (June primary) or the cold and rain (November general) for eight days, I do think everyone will agree that it is a waste of taxpayer money. We must pay Election Judges and rent the facilities for eight days.
Many of these Democrats in the General Assembly that admit that eight days is too long, would never consider reducing Early Voting to five days or less. The theory behind Early Voting is that there are more Democratic voters in Maryland, and the longer the polls are open, the more Democrats will come out and vote. I disagree.
If Early Voting is cut down from eight to four days, then there is a belief that Early Voting totals will be reduced by 50 percent. I do not believe that for a minute. I have no scientific proof, but I am sure that if Early Voting days were reduced by 50 percent, voter turnout would probably only decline by 10 to 20 percent. For those who want to vote early will find a way to get to the polls within the four-to-five-window compared to the current eight days.
Another argument that Democrats would make in favor of keeping eight days is if there was some bad weather (which we did see on Saturday) during my proposed four-day stretch. Then they would argue that we would need the full eight days. Yes, Early Voting turnout would be lower if those three to four days were washed out, but those voters would still be able to come back and vote on Election Day. What happens if we have bad weather on Election Day? There is no make-up day after Nov. 6.
I should not complain too much. When Early Voting started it was only five days. There was talk of the General Assembly reducing it down but then it was increased to the current eight-day format.
If there is another change to Early Voting, The General Assembly would probably expand it to three weeks instead of shirking to four to five days. I guess I should be happy it is only eight days.