Why Barack Obama Wants You to Vote Early

Jan 29, 2011 No Comments

By Ian Magruder

Some students love voting by mail. They receive their ballot in the mail a month before every election, spend a few hours filling it out, and send it in immediately. They enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their vote is in the bank early. If you are one of those people, this article is not for you.

This article is for those of you who enjoy voting on election day. You like walking, driving, or biking to your local polling place. You enjoy seeing familiar faces in line and physically dropping your ballot in the big locked box after voting. I understand where you’re coming from, because I was once one of those voters myself. Voting is a cherished American experience and there is something remarkably satisfying about getting an “I voted” sticker and wearing it around all day.

Unfortunately, it’s time that you come to terms with a simple but important fact: all good Democrats vote early. By voting early, you help Democratic candidates and campaigns in several ways. Campaigns spend incredible sums of money and volunteer time sending mailers and making get-out-the-vote (GOTV) calls to Democratic voters,. Once you vote early, your name will be removed from campaign voter contact lists. Rather than spending money and time contacting you, the campaigns you support can spend their time contacting other Democrats who are less likely to vote (“low propensity” voters in campaign lingo).

But in addition to helping the causes you support, voting early benefits you personally. Why waste your time standing in line on Election Day when you could be doing better things with you life (like volunteering for GOTV)? What if something unexpected happens that prevents you from finding the time to vote? Voting early ensures that you have as much time as you need to fill out your ballot when it’s most convenient for you, which means you’ll have plenty of time to research that random school board race with all of the candidates that you’ve never heard of.

Now let’s assume for a moment that you’re convinced. You now understand why voting early benefits both you and the campaigns that you’re supporting, but you may be asking yourself, “How do I vote early?” If you’re already registered to vote by mail, all you need to do is mail in your ballot as soon as possible. If you’re not registered to vote by mail, you can request a ballot by filling out the card on the back of the voter information guide that you received and mail it back by October 26th. Finally, you can always visit your county elections office and simply request a ballot over the counter anytime during business hours.

So, be a good Democrat and please vote before November 2nd. Do it for your county, do it for your party, or if nothing else will convince you, do it for President Obama.

Fall 2010

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