Friday, March 18, 2016

Vote Early, Vote Foolish

ON TUESDAY EVENING, presidential primary votes will be counted in five important states: Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. But in just one of those states will March 15 actually be the day of the primary election. Missouri has resisted the early-voting fad; it is one of only 13 states in which voters do not have the option of casting a ballot weeks before Election Day. Which means that when Missourians vote, there is one thing they know for sure: Their ballot will count.
But for tens of thousands of voters in this week's other primary states, there was no such assurance.
In Illinois, for example, where polling places opened on Feb. 29, Ben Carson enthusiasts who rushed to cast a vote for their man effectively disenfranchised themselves: Carson suspended his campaign on March 4. Any Illinois votes cast for him will count for nothing. It may have been convenient to show up at the polling place two weeks before Election Day — no lines, no weather worries — but for anyone who backed Carson, it was also a complete waste of time.
Primary voting in Ohio was even more of a crapshoot. Voters in the Buckeye State were eligible to cast their ballots as early as Feb. 17. Jeb Bush was still in the race then; he didn't drop out until after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 20. So early-voting Ohioans who couldn't wait to lock in their support for Bush (or Carson) ended up locking in zilch.
Read the rest of Jeff Jacoby's op-ed HERE.

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