Keep a close eye on the planned lawsuit by the City of St. Louis to allow early voting in the upcoming November general election. St. Louis officials have said they will go to court to seek a two-week early voting period prior to the general election. The state of Missouri argues that legislation has not been approved to permit the early voting but St. Louis interprets the law differently.
I have long opposed early voting. Those who benefit are the voters who lack the discipline or personal responsibility to register appropriately, to vote in the appropriate precinct and to vote on election day between the hours allowed by the law. If someone is unwilling to follow these fundamental and simple rules, we quite frankly diminish the voting process itself.
Here's how it works in reality. Activists for whatever party or cause will use the two-week window to harness voters who have never or rarely cast a ballot. They will be hand-delivered to the polling precincts during this two-week window. This will dilute the effectiveness of the right to vote. And to imply it opens the process to fraud and abuse is just too obvious.
An independent audit of the St. Louis election process reveals that as many as 24,000 voters there are questionable. And that comes from a Democratic officeholder. So given the fiasco of the 2000 election in St. Louis, coupled with that many questionable voters, can you imagine the problems that would be created by an additional two-week early voting period? You don't have to be a political junkie to recognize the potential for abuse.
Absentee balloting has always been available for those who have a sincere inability to make it to the polls on election day. And thousands upon thousands of voters take advantage of this convenient opportunity. Opening the process for a two-week period for no reason at all is not the way to reform the voting process. In fact, I believe it would be a nightmare in the making.
The Secretary of State's office put it in plain, understandable terms. When informed of the potential for the early voting lawsuit, the Secretary of State said: "It appears that the problem in St. Louis continues to be the management of the city's voter registration rolls, not a shortage of time in which to cast ballots."
That one sentence clearly defines the problem. The solution is not early voting.