This election season was dominated by endless, over-the-top, nasty television ads, unencumbered special interest groups dumping millions in races to push their agendas, numbing almost-daily polling that confused more than informed, and a small-minded presidential campaign – enabled by media enamored of minutiae – that failed to provide the serious and mature discussion of the challenges facing this country that Americans need.
Still, there was a winner Tuesday that we all can appreciate: voting – the linchpin of our democracy. Early voting should clearly take a bow. About 46 million or more U.S. citizens are expected to have voted early this year. That’s more than the 39.7 million in 2008. In North Carolina, more than 2.75 million votes had been cast, about 41 percent of all registered N.C. voters. Like many other states, North Carolina is on pace to break its early voting numbers of four years ago.
Early voting has visibly aided voter participation – a move that should be welcomed. Unfortunately, that’s not how some people saw it. Places like Florida and Ohio have tried not only to decrease the number of days people could vote early but cut the hours too. A few Florida counties even wanted the time a voter spent in the polling booth limited.
Some N.C. lawmakers tried to cut early voting days in this state during last year’s legislative session. Citizens willing to stand in long lines to vote early the last couple of weeks showed how foolish that was. Count early voting as the uplift in an election season that’s been mostly a downer.
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