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Does the Early Vote Get the Worm?

October 25, 2010

Did you catch the Op-Ed “Voting Early, But Not So Often” by Barry Burden and Kenneth Mayer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in yesterday’s New York Times?  In it they summarize their research finding that the greater availaibliity of early voting (voting by mail or in person before Election Day) reduces overall voter turnout.  Of course, as with most things it’s not quite that simple.  Check out the article if you’re interested in its possible implications for improving the voting process.  What do you think?

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In the meantime, don’t forget the current voting rules in your community:

In California, if you still wish to obtain a Vote-By-Mail ballot for the November 2 election, you must make sure your application is RECEIVED by your county elections office by tomorrow, October 26th.  See these instructions for California.  In Pennsylvania, registered voters that still wish to obtain an absentee ballot must follow the same timeline.  See these instructions for Pennsylvania.

In New York and Ohio you may apply IN PERSON for an absentee ballot as late as November 1st, but must apply earlier if doing so by mail.  See the New York instructions and Ohio instructions.

Exceptions to the above rules apply to those living abroad, serving in the military, or in emergency situations.  In addition, California and Ohio are among the states with other early voting options in person.  Contact your county elections office for details.  And of course, go to to get all of your ballot information and additional background on candidates or measures.

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