When President Obama cast his ballot more than a week before Election Day, he did something no other President had ever done: he voted early. He did it to encourage many of his supporters to vote early also, which they did. Nearly half of Americans voted before Election Day this year. That was a record. This changed the way presidential campaigns are conducted and had a big influence on the final outcome. By the time Election Day arrived, many Americans felt that their vote no longer counted as much on Election Day as it once did.
In the key swing state of Ohio, campaigning in the weeks prior to Election Day by the two candidates did not focus as much on their differences in political positions as it did when candidates used “boots on the ground” to get out the vote. Democrats overwhelmed Republicans with early voting, giving Obama a vast lead before Election Day even arrived. The Ohio legislature sensibly tried to limit this early voting, but a federal court tossed out that particular Ohio law. This judicial activism was contrary to the authority of the States to establish the time and manner of voting except as prescribed by federal law, and federal law does not require any early voting. When this case was appealed, the Supreme Court ducked this issue and declined to correct this judicial activism, thereby making sure that early voting continued through the weekend in Ohio.
A Generation ago, Election Day was respected by Americans almost as much as the 4th of July, and this tradition caused high voter turnout by our citizens. But early voting has denigrated this tradition in many states, to the harm of our political system. One important lesson we can learn from the recent election is that States with early voting should repeal it so that the tradition of the importance of Election Day may be restored.
Contributing Editor, Phyllis Schlafly, is the Founder and President of Eagle Forum, a national radio show host, and a best-selling author.
Used with the permission of Eagle Forum.
The Moral Liberal recommends: Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America)