Vote early? Only if you're really ready -- and need to
You ready? You sure? Because a lot can happen between now and Election Day on Nov. 6. A lot of information and plenty of perspectives are to be published and put out there, each bit demanding the careful consideration of responsible voters. There are important decisions to be made in this and every election. Deciding who our elected leaders are isn't something to be done hastily.
So while voting early is a great convenience and opportunity for those who otherwise maybe wouldn't be able to cast a ballot, the vast majority of eligible Minnesota voters can be very wary of wading in ahead of the actual Election Day. We can remember: We only get one shot at this.
Early voting opens today in Minnesota, but even if you feel you know the issues and the candidates and the way you want to go in every single race, consider this: In the 1990 election for Minnesota governor, Republican nominee Jon Gronseth dropped out just nine days ahead of Election Day following allegations of nude swimming with young girls at a pool party at his residence. And consider this: Just 11 days before Election Day in 2002, U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone perished in a plane crash near Eveleth that also killed his wife, daughter, and five others.
Election Day 2018 is still 46 very long days away. No one can predict what might happen between now and then. But we do know the unforeseen can dramatically and quickly change the political landscape and the decision-making of voters across our state.
Yes, early voting helped fuel strong voter turnout during the August primary: 23 percent of all Minnesotans and 29 percent of Duluth residents participated, the Duluth mayor's office reported this week. Minnesota enjoyed its highest number of primary voters since 1982, according to the Minnesota DFL.
And, yes, beyond convenience, there are good, legitimate reasons for some of us to cast early ballots. Secretary of State Steve Simon reportedly had his father's mobility challenges in mind when he authored Minnesota's early-voting law during his days in the Minnesota House. And, "In addition to helping people who face barriers or are concerned about getting to their polling place on Election Day, early voting is great for college students attending school away from home who want to vote in their home district, snowbirds leaving for warmer weather before Election Day, and people who work multiple jobs who are not sure of their schedules on Nov. 6," as Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin argued in an op-ed distributed statewide this week.
Outside of a few such extreme circumstances, however, there are far better and far more legitimate reasons for waiting. A lot can change, for one thing. And a lot demands to be carefully considered before eligible voters color in those little eggs on their ballot cards.
Decisions as important as an election just shouldn't be rushed, especially with no do-overs allowed.