Yes…and no. Is early voting a good idea? This is a rare question that can be answered in the both the negative and affirmative. Let’s take a look at both sides of the issue…
Early voting is a great idea since America has not declared Election Day a national holiday. The fact is that there are many people out there who have employment situations that do not support voting during the time allocated on Election Day. There are others (myself included) who are registered to vote in a town that is an hour and a half away from where I live. So guess who gets to make the drive back to his hometown to vote and then make the drive back to his apartment to wait for the results on Election Day… That’s right! 🙂
There are any number of reasons why early election is a good idea. What about the truck driver who lives in Nebraska, but happens to be on an assignment to Maine? That person isn’t voting on Election Day no matter what they do! Sure, they could apply for an absentee ballot, but that’s about as inefficient as you can get (plus, most of the time the absentee ballots aren’t counted for days or weeks after the election).
At the same time, early voting is a horrible idea if you really aren’t firmly behind a candidate. In other words, if you go to the polls on the Saturday before the election just because it fits your schedule, can you be sure that you made the right decision? What if one of the candidates comes out with some ridiculously outlandish statements in the last 48 hours of the campaign? What if one of their major policy positions is diced up and mutilated by their fellow party members (think Obama’s tax plan in the mouths of Joe Biden and Bill Richardson)? In the year 2000, FOX News broke a story about then-Governor George W. Bush and his drunk driving revelations. Many people think that this negative story on Bush in the last few days of the election cost him the popular vote. Who knows?
Then again if you’re voraciously in favor of one candidate over another, then early voting is probably a good option for you. In the end, though, let’s remember that diversifying our voting methods is a good thing for America!