Joe Brookreson stands at the table, pensive, reading a cookbook, his wife looking over his shoulder. “I’m looking in that container?” asks Susan Brookreson. A ball of dough is rising in a bowl on the counter beside them. Joe is sharing the instructions for how to prepare wheat bread with his wife. “Oh, there are two rises,” Joe realizes. This means he may not be able to return home after casting his vote for president – his early vote, that is – in time to supervise the baking. “Doggone it.” Joe had planned to drive 15 minutes to Martinsburg, West Virginia, for early voting and then return home to bake the bread, but the extra leavening time is complicating his schedule. Susan reassures him: “Go. Your voting is more important.” November 8 is more than a week away, but around the United States, many people like Joe Brookreson are running to the polls to vote. Voting started as early as September 23 in some places, and is now permitted in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Each state establishes its own procedures and dates.
In 1992, only seven percent of Americans voted early, typically through absentee ballots, which usually could only be obtained for a good reason, such as illness or being far from home on Election Day. This year about 40% of all American voters are expected to complete their ballots well before most polls open on November 8. With no reason necessary.
Jeremy Mayer, an associate professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government in Virginia, says early voting fits into the modern, fast-paced U.S. lifestyle. “People don’t want to go to the store to buy something if they can click a button and get it online,” he says, “but since we can’t have online voting and since we won’t shift Election Day to a holiday, early voting is the best way to ensure that more Americans turn out to vote.”
Full Article: Getting It Over With, Americans Are Voting Early This Year.