But this year I’ve also noticed something new; many voters are casting ballots and engaging with the election process earlier and in greater numbers than I can remember. Moreover, there seems to be an intensity and urgency that is unusual in my experience. In just the last few weeks, I’ve seen colleagues in the field report overseas voters returning Federal Write-in Ballots (FWABs) as soon as voting opened rather than wait for regular ballots to reach them and multiple registration forms and/or online registration transactions from the same voters – sometimes AFTER they had been sent a vote-by-mail ballot.
Some of this is undoubtedly the result of voter outreach, amplified by social media, by state and local election officials, offices like the Federal Voting Assistance Program or efforts like National Voter Registration Day. But I think this year in particular there is something else going on: voters seem (dare I say it) hellbent on ensuring that their vote counts and are therefore willing to overcompensate in order to make it happen.