I understand the appeal of voting by mail. I did it once long ago when I was going to be out of town on election day. It was easy and relaxed but did not provide me with the same emotional satisfaction as actually going to the polls so I never repeated it. My polling place is within walking distance and voting on election day (at least in my area) is quick and easy, rarely taking more than fifteen minutes.
So I am a little puzzled by all the reports this year of people who choose to travel to central voting offices and stand in long lines, sometimes for hours, to vote early. This might make sense if your work schedule does not allow you enough time on election day or some other contingency actually prevents you from voting on election day.
Perhaps those polling places like mine that cater to the more affluent electorate have enough voting machines and poll workers to make it go smoothly whereas the polling stations in poorer areas are understaffed and under-machined so that election day can involve a long wait, yet another means by which the poor are discouraged from voting. So if your past experience has been one of long waits on election day, then I can understand voting early.
I was speaking to a colleague on election day who said she had voted early by going downtown and stood in a long line to do so. Someone at the university had arranged a bus to enable people to do so. When I asked her why she did so when she lived in an area where voting on election day was quite quick, she did not have a reason. She seemed to have been swept up by this year’s enthusiasm to have people vote early.
I can understand why candidates would like their supporters to vote early but why voters would prefer it is not clear to me.
Did anyone reading this vote early and if so why?