EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 14, 2012

Column: Early voting deflates value of Election Day


The Romney campaign, while it reportedly does not have nearly the number of offices in swing states as Democrats, is working just as hard with phone banks and door-to-door contact to get people to vote now.

A plague on both their houses.

There are more than enough things that divide Americans. A single day on which the vast majority of citizens speak through the ballot to elect their leaders was one thing that brought us together.

It throws the claim that we all want informed voters out the window. As everybody – especially both campaigns – knows, tens of millions of voters don’t really start to pay close attention until the month before the election. That is supposedly why the debates are scheduled just weeks before what used to be a legitimate election day. It is why campaigns go into overdrive during the last few weeks before that day. This is a blatant effort to get people to vote when they are less informed.

It undermines the effect of events leading up to the election. It is possible that the unemployment numbers that just came out, showing a drop from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, would sway millions of voters. Perhaps they would think that lends some credibility to the president’s regular claim that “the policies we’ve put in place are working.”

But if they already voted for Romney, it won’t matter.

Or, perhaps some voters would be swayed by the Obama administration’s blatant disingenuousness over last month’s attack – on the anniversary of 9/11 – on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, in which four people were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The administration insisted for weeks that this was simply a spontaneous demonstration against a movie trailer that insulted the Muslim prophet, which got out of hand when it was suddenly hijacked by extremists.

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