David Stokes
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I voted early this week - but just the once.  We are being told that one of the unique things about the election this year is the fact that about one third of all ballots cast are via various forms of early voting.  This is certainly unprecedented.  The Commonwealth of Virginia, where I live in Fairfax County, requires someone desiring to vote early to affirm a reason for not being able to do so on Tuesday, November 4th.  They range from being responsible for the care of another, to travel.  It is a travel issue with us.  My wife and I head to Ohio to watch all the fun there this Tuesday.

The trend toward such significant early voting is also uncharted territory for the integrity of elections themselves.   It remains to be seen if this development will lead to greater voter confidence in the process, or further confusion, conflict, and potential destabilization.   All indications are that early Democratic voters far outnumber Republicans.  Part of this is due to a determined effort on the part of the Obama-Biden campaign to get out the early vote.

By definition, early voters are not undecided. We have not only decided, we have expressed that decision through the sanctity of the secret ballot.   It follows, therefore, that those still undecided have not yet voted.  Therefore, with more than 30 percent of decided voters already finished with the only poll that really matters, the portion of undecided voters may actually be statistically significant.

It also means that both campaigns still have an opportunity to win converts.

I suggest that one important question every voter – especially those yet undecided – should ask is: “Will John McCain or Barack Obama be better at keeping promises made during the campaign?”  It has been a year of promises.  “Ask not what your country can do for you – demand it!”

We have been promised tax cuts, spending cuts, new programs, war plans, and much more.  Every American needs to remember that it is a very rare thing for a politician to keep every promise.  Sometime next year, no matter who wins on Tuesday, our new president will have to face the American people with the news that it can’t all be done. 

Sorry folks.  Forget how we will be doing four years from now.  How will the new occupant of the White House be doing in four months?  Will Obama stay closer to campaign message or will McCain?  

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David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared