Vote Early, Vote Often?

Vote Early, Vote Often?

Robert Scott

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

When I was living in Edgefield County and inching toward the magic age when I could vote, one of the alleged sayings of the corrupt Democratic Party machine in Mayor Daley’s Chicago was “Vote Early, Vote Often!” There were allegations of voting irregularities involving recently deceased voters miraculously casting ballots for Daley-sponsored candidates, and of people who were able to vote, to leave the polling place, and then to return and vote again, perhaps in a different precinct. Fraudulent voting by people voting more than once in Chicago might, the rumor went, have tipped the balance for Senator John F. Kennedy in his slim victory over Vice President Richard M. Nixon in 1960. But voting more than once was then, and is now, illegal. Anyone who intentionally tried to vote a second time in the same election was then, as now, committing a felony. Only the most corrupt politicians then, as now, would encourage such a practice by those expected to vote their way, and anyone seriously encouraging people to do that is committing a crime.The balance of corruption in encouraging such a practice may have changed political parties in the sixty years since then, but such corruption is still with us.

Which is not to say that voting early is a bad thing, nor is it a practice that encourages fraud. There have been so few cases of voting fraud via mail-in ballot as to be non-existent. Alleging the opposite is one of the “dirty tricks” that the federal Intelligence Community (IC) has placed at the doorstep of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, just within the past few weeks. Such widespread voting fraud is internet “fake news” and not true, as the IC has shown. Voting by mail-in ballot is safe, secure, and highly recommended during this COVID-19 year. Polling places are expected to be crowded; maintaining safety in line by social distancing at polling places may only be possible if those lines stretch well out the door – which would, in itself, discouragevoting.

Recognizing this, our South Carolina Legislature in a special session last week enacted legislation that allows voting by mail by any registered voter, without needing to specify any of the usual reasons for voting absentee. All you need to do is to request an absentee ballot, and one will be sent to you.

Which brings me back to the real subject of this column: votingearly. Request your ballot early, and then mail it in early. All of us have seen news articles about delays in the mail that are expected as we head toward the Tuesday following the first Monday in November – the traditional date for Presidential elections. Yes, you can still vote in person this year – provided you have not already voted by mail – but a better, safer plan for many of us is to vote by mail. 

If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register now at several locations, including at the Department of Motor Vehicles; the deadline is the weekend starting October 2. If you are registered, you can request a ballot now, by contacting the County Board of Voter Registration and Elections. Phone them at 803-637-4072, and they will send you a request to vote by mail, or you can fil out a request form at their office on Penn Street.

Only vote once in this November’s election, but make sure your vote counts: Vote Early!