But these "vote early" alternatives can increase the possibilities for fraud. In Iowa, "ballot chasers" are already walking door-to-door collecting absentee ballots, and though they are not supposed to pressure voters toward or against a candidate, there is no check of a poll worker by the opposite party. Nor is there oversight to ensure that the "ballot chasers" actually deliver the collected ballots.
Though voting in America has never been easier, politicians insist that it must be made even more convenient. When Congress designated Election Day as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the United States was still an agrarian society. Farmers, busy planting and harvesting during the spring and summer months, could best afford time to vote in November. And since many voters in the 1800s had to travel over a day to get to the polls, Congress specified Tuesday as Election Day, so that their constituents would not have to begin their journeys on Sunday.
For Americans, modern transportation has all but eliminated an Election Day commute of more than a few minutes, but most people around the world don't have it so easy. In Afghanistan, over 8 million voters exercised their right to vote for the first time, some standing in lines for three to four hours, others trudging through snow a foot deep.
Women in Kunduz refused to return home even when Jihadists detonated a bomb a few hundred feet away. In Iraq, a schoolteacher used $800 from the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct a one-day, town council election in his village of 35,000. Now, the residents are represented by 10 council members of their choice, instead of anointed Baath Party officials.
Fledgling democracies such as Iraq and Afghanistan have learned a lesson we seem to take for granted: Single-day elections are the surest way of ensuring that the people have the latest information -- and that their will is measured. Not so here. In 2002, Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone received thousands of votes after he was killed in a pre-Election Day plane crash and replaced on the ballot by Walter Mondale. In this 2004 presidential election, voters in Maine and Iowa began casting ballots even before the first presidential debate. And yet, many of those with a valid reason for voting absentee -- like the men and women of our armed forces serving overseas -- seem to have problems even getting an absentee ballot.
This week, I received an email from a Marine stationed at Al Qaim, Iraq -- a dusty, dangerous outpost along the Syrian border. He wrote: "We were given absentee ballot forms to mail in and were supposed to get a ballot in return. Well, it hasn't gotten here yet, and it doesn't look like our votes will get counted. I am angry about that."
He has a right to be. Instead of worrying about how to make voting "easier" for those who would otherwise have an easy time voting, our political "leaders" ought to focus on how to guarantee the right to vote to those who are fighting to give that right to others -- the men and women of our armed forces.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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