A major defect of early voting is that it exponentially increases opportunities for ballot fraud and voter intimidation, and thereby undermines respect for elections and for confidence that our elections are fair and honest. It is virtually impossible to have the same safeguards and security measures against voter fraud that we maintain at regular polling places on Election Day, such as the requirement for voter ID and having poll watchers all day from the two major political parties.
Early voting, especially early weekend voting, also raises the prospect of increased voter intimidation of groups of people who are driven to the polls to vote under the supervision of those who brought them. Groups known to have been driven to the polls for early voting include employees from certain industries, union members and even patients in nursing homes who may not be fully cognizant of the purpose of the trip.
When early voting is allowed by mail, the voter is subject to intimidation from those who watch him mark his ballot or to whom he shows his ballot before he mails it. If the vote pleases the watcher, the voter can collect an anticipated reward in cash, merchandise, or some benefit. Whatever happened to our precious secret ballot?
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and the courts have interfered with sensible attempts by states, including Florida and Ohio, to cut back excessive early voting the Obama Administration invoked its power under the Voting Rights Act to prevent several counties in Florida from reducing early voting hours.
Encouraging people to close their minds and cast an irrevocable ballot weeks before Election Day is as harmful to a fair election as it would be to allow jurors to vote guilty or not guilty before they hear all the evidence in a trial. Long trials can, indeed, be very inconvenient to jurors, but that's no excuse for allowing them to vote on what could be a matter of life-or-death before they hear all the arguments pro and con.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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