“Republicans Will Encourage Voting Before Election Day”

Walter Olson at Cato:

A more systematic benefit is that campaigns can save money and target their resources more effectively if supporters vote early. If a household is already recorded in the state database two weeks before Election Day as having voted, there’s no need to bombard it with last‐​minute mailings and phone calls.

There is also reason to believe that mail and drop box voting appeals to many constituencies among whom Republicans tend to do well, such as retirees and homemaking moms. In fact, until Trump chose to impose a different narrative, Republicans in many states were thought to be more skillful users of mail voting.

Partisan interest aside, there are two ways in which the interest of the nation as a whole is likely to be well served by the GOP’s return to course on this point. First, it abets distrust, polarization, and gamesmanship for one voting method to be seen as somehow “belonging to” one side. If early in‐​person voting is no longer perceived as a Democratic specialty, it will be easier for states to weigh impartially how much of it to schedule (from election administrators’ perspective, there are potential burdens in providing either too little or too much of it). Likewise for other methods.

The second ground for renewed optimism is that allowing voters to sort themselves more evenly between ballot channels will tend to dissipate the “red mirage” phenomenon in which one party jumps off to an early lead based on an early counting of votes that were cast its favored way, only to see that lead diminish and reverse as votes from the other party’s favored channels get counted.

It is hard to exaggerate how much damage the “red mirage” did in setting up the conditions for much of the public to be misled about the 2020 presidential election.

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