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Early voting and 2020

Jonah Goldberg argues at National Review Online that the 2020 election proves why early voting is a bad idea.

Now will someone listen? Early voting is stupid.

Under California’s new election protocols, as many as 40 percent of California voters voted early, either by mail or at voting centers, for Tuesday’s primary. And what about those who cast ballots for Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, or Tom Steyer, all of whom announced in recent days that they were dropping out? Their votes simply won’t count. …

… But that’s only the most obvious problem with this infernal fad that puts convenience above citizenship. Early voting also makes strategic voting more difficult. Say you voted for Elizabeth Warren a month ago, on the first day of early voting. It’s not that you loved her; it’s just that you thought she’d be a better general-election candidate. Well, she’s now looking like such a long shot that a vote for Warren is likely to be a vote wasted — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Or let’s say you’re an anyone-but-Biden or anyone-but-Bernie voter. If you voted for someone who subsequently dropped out, you may have helped the candidate you were trying to thwart.

Or imagine that you like Bernie’s overall message, and you voted for him on the first day you could. Then, in the last month, more came out about his support for authoritarian regimes, and now you’re horrified. Well, too bad.

Early voting in primaries is a particularly egregious idea because it makes it more difficult for a party to choose the best or most unifying candidate. Still, only a handful of states have resisted the trend.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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