Thursday, March 10, 2016

campaigns should be pushing early voting, not paper ballots

Assumption: This blog entry is written with the assumption: if a campaign puts in the time & money to have a chance of winning an election, the top priority should be winning the election (while complying with constraints like following the law & respecting the ethics of the candidate/campaign leadership).

If the goal of a campaign is to get the most votes, the campaign should push its supporters to vote early.

On November 4, 2014 I was reminding people to vote in a working class neighborhood in Chicago's Ward 45. There were plenty of people who didn't vote, most of them, women. It was a caretaker who couldn't leave her husband. It was a student whose father seemed like a Rauner supporter. It was a mother with work obligations.

Losing elections sucks. And progressives lose elections because regular people don't vote. Early voting reduces the problem of regular people skipping elections.

In Chicago, there are two ways to vote early: in person and by mail.

Voting by mail is on paper. Voting early in person is on a machine.

There is a small group of activists--who hold themselves out as experts--who are adamantly opposed to voting on machines.

These activists #1 recommendation is to vote on a paper ballot.

Pushing paper ballots is counterproductive because it pushes people to voting on Election Day, which in some cases means pushing people toward a scenario that means they won't vote.

Also, campaigns hate having volunteers having to go back to their home voting precincts. At a minimum this takes time. Worst case scenario the volunteer doesn't return.

Pushing paper ballots because electronic voting machines are "rigged" is also a messaging problem. If the activists who claim to be experts say elections are "rigged", what's the fucking point of voting at all?

If Chicago's electronic voting machines are producing results that reflect tampering, not the will of the voters...
  • how does one prove the cheating happened?
  • how does one prevent future cheating?
As far as I can tell, voting on paper ballots doesn't--by itself--address either of these questions.

After the March 15, 2016 primary, Chicago's progressive community should probably address the issue of progressives saying that voting on paper ballots is important.

1 comment:

  1. Early vote, early vote, early vote. Bank your vote so you can work Election Day. Bank your vote so it doesn't matter if you oversleep before work or traffic is awful on the way home or the CTA gets stuck and you miss the 7 pm deadline to vote. I am convinced some campaigns have lost close elections because not enough of their plus voters early voted and the Election Day weather was either awful or too nice.