By Globe Gazette
Among the barrage of political material Iowans are receiving in the mail these days are suggestions to vote early and instructions how to get a ballot by mail.
It’s certainly not difficult and a lot of people apparently will do it as predictions say more than four of 10 Iowans will vote by Election Day, Nov. 6.
We’re not all that hot on early voting, either by mail or at the courthouse. It’s like firing a gun: Once you’ve pulled the trigger, there are no takebacks. We understand the reasoning, though; every vote in the bag is one the parties won’t have to worry about.
This is nothing new for Iowa. Democrats basically got the early voting ball rolling many years ago. And a story we published Sunday said the evidence points to a large Democratic advantage in early voting in this campaign. Of course, Republicans claim they’ll basically catch up by the time the counting’s done.
A look back tells us 36 percent of the electorate cast votes before Election Day four years ago. Republicans say it will be 41 percent this year. Others say that’s not high enough.
In Iowa, Democrats have won the early voting contests in the past two presidential elections. In 2004, they had an 11 percent edge; four years ago, it was 17 percent.
Along with having the votes in the bag, a professor who studies early voting says capturing votes early allows fine-tuning of campaign efforts, like moving on to people who they believe need an extra nudge.
Iowans do tend to wait to mail in their ballots, and that’s good. In 2008, it was middle to late October before the bulk of the early votes were cast. Maybe a lot of us believe in the possibility (probability?) of October surprises.
Whatever the case, we think it’s best to wait and vote on Election Day; if not then, the latest day possible.
We understand that some folks may anticipate being gone on Nov. 6 or have other commitments. Others may not be able to get out easily and find voting by mail to be more convenient. And, of course, there are those who have their minds made up and nothing will change their opinions.
For our part, we still prefer to go to the polls on Election Day. Something might take place or be uncovered late in the campaign that could be a mind- and vote-changer.
It might not seem likely but anything’s possible in politics. Besides, it feels good to have a poll worker give us that “I Voted” sticker.