Maryland Democrats Want Suppressed Voter Turnout
But the biggest hypocrisy from Democrats on this switch of early voting centers is how little it’s needed at all. As we saw in 2014, early voting and early voting sites don’t increase turnout, and may actually lead to diminished turnout. It isn’t like people were waiting desperately for early voting centers to be created in order to vote; it just spread out voting over a longer period of time and at higher costs to the taxpayer. Add on top of that the fact that Maryland allows all voters to vote by absentee ballot for any reason at all and the early voting centers don’t have any reason to exist. Period.
We’ve also pointed out how Democratic apologists like Laslo Boyd to make cockamamie arguments in support of early voting.
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At just 54% of the voting-age population, America has one of the worst turnout rates for general elections in the developed world. Proponents of early voting — which is not cost-free as polling stations have to stay open longer — hope that widening the voting window to multiple days will help to increase turnout. But in a study published in 2013, Barry Bunden and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, demonstrated otherwise. After controlling for demographic factors such as age, income, race and education as well as the competitiveness of the election at hand, the authors found that for every ten days that a state allowed early voting, turnout decreased by 1 percentage point. In total, they find that the likelihood that someone will turnout at an election was reduced by around four percentage points.
By way of an explanation, the authors posit that early voting removes election day of its stimulating effect on the electorate (ie, by stretching a single-day voting window across several weeks). This pushes marginal voters, who need all the encouragement they can find to vote, away from the ballot box. Indeed, early voters tend to be older and more educated than the electorate as a whole — the very group that have the highest turnout rate.
The results show that Election Day registration has a consistently positive effect on turnout, whereas the most popular reform—early voting—is actually associated with lower turnout when it is implemented by itself. We propose that early voting has created negative unanticipated consequences by reducing the civic significance of elections for individuals and altering the incentives for political campaigns to invest in mobilization.
While we oppose same-day registration because of the potential for voter fraud, the statistical analysis shows that Democratic talking points on early voting are bunk. The only consequence of early voting is that fewer people wind up voting.
So why do Maryland Democrats raise such a stink about early voting? Why do they argue that we should spend millions of dollars on two weeks worth of early voting when the act of early voting actually suppresses voter turnout?
The only logical argument, of course, is that Maryland Democrats want to suppress voter turnout. They know that in many marginal districts Democrats are or will only be able to hold on by having conservative leaning unlikely voters stay home. That so many voters in Maryland are sick and tired of Democrats and their tax and spend policies, they need to keep as many voters out of the voting booth as possible unless those voters are hardcore Democrats.
So the real question to Democrats is this: Why does your party want to suppress voter turnout?