According to this website, Minnesota’s early voting “runs from Friday, September 18, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020.” Technically, ending early voting the day before Election Day is ending early. Tonight on Almanac, Joe Mansky, the former director of Ramsey County elections, was interviewed by Mary Lahammer. The most noteworthy thing Mansky said was “Minnesota is one of the states that can process and count ballots prior to Election Day. As a matter of fact, the legislature did election officials a big favor by authorizing earlier this year, election officials can count for 2 weeks prior to Election Day, which they’ll need given the number of ballots we’ll receive.”

Then Mansky added “The overwhelming majority of ballots will be counted by the time we get to 8:00 pm Election Night.” That’s great news for Republicans. If President Trump does well in Minnesota, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll be able to call Minnesota during Election Night coverage. Here’s the entire interview:

The definition of early is “in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.” Ending early voting the night before Election Day hardly fits the dictionary definition of early voting, especially when you factor in mail-in early voting. According to Mansky, ballots post-marked by Election Day still count even though the ballots wouldn’t get counted until (perhaps) a week after the election.

It’s time we defined what early voting means at the federal level. If we don’t do it there, then there’s a strong probability that we’ll finish with a hodge-podge of different definitions. I’m not opposed to different states having different dates. I’m opposed to having some states accept ballots post-marked on Election Day while other states stop accepting mail-in ballots a week before Election Day.

The goal would be to a) have all early voting ballots sent in before Election Day and b) have them counted before Election Day. I want to keep federal elections out of federal courts. The federal government has a responsibility to maintain election integrity. Having a system where mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day triggering a federal lawsuit (or a series of federal lawsuits) doesn’t maintain election integrity.

Finally, federalism doesn’t automatically mean that the states and municipalities do everything. It simply means that each level of government looks after that level’s interests.

One Response to “Defining early voting”

  • Chad Q says:

    There shouldn’t be anything like early voting, period. Either a person goes to the polls and votes on voting day or they have a good excuse as to why they need an absentee ballot. Voting should not be made easier so those that really have no interest in voting, will vote. No need to mail in vote this year either since Fauci said it is safe to go vote.

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