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Absentee and Early Voting Paperback – October 11, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John C. Fortier is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he serves as the principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Aei Press (October 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844742473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844742472
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,569,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This study of the rise of absentee and early voting is quite informative. There is more information here about the numbers of votes cast by traditional, early, and absentee methods in each state than I have ever seen. The author admits that some of this data had to be estimated because not all the states collect the information precisely.

John C. Fortier is a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and is the principal contributor to the election reform project the AEI has with Brookings. While I have a number of civic, logistical, security, integrity, and timing issues with the large us of voting in anyplace than the traditional voting booth on a single election day, I recognize that my view is in the minority and dwindling at that.

I did live in Australia for two years from 1973-75 and saw their universal vote-by-mail system. There and then, if you were of age you faced a fine if you did not return a signed ballot on time. You could vote for Mickey Mouse, but you had to vote. Of course, theirs is a parliamentary system with most of the focus being on electing the local MPs from among a myriad of parties. There are two big parties there, and in those days both were leftish and really left. But their country is larger than the continental United States with something like one tenth of our population (or less). Going to polling places there is simply not practical because so many voters live in amazingly remote areas.

As the author recounts the history of absentee voting to accommodate soldiers during the Civil War and traveling businessmen, he also notes how small a percentage of the electorate this was. It was more symbolic of enfranchisement and civic duty than anything more than a marginal impact on the number of votes cast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark B. Cohen on June 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
The author of this book is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he serves as the principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project. The list of AEI fellows, posted at the back of this 2006 book, included former President Gerald Ford, Lynne V. Cheney, the wife of the Vice-President, two 2008 potential Republican Presidential candidates--Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson--and numerous veterans of Republican Presidential elections.

The author admirably does a superb job of research. Getting data from 50 states and the federal government, he notices gaps and differences in terminology and--rare among researchers--he follows up and fills the gaps and reclassifies the information according to national criteria. In doing so, he provides an excellent model of how national state by state research should work.

The author worries as he documents the increasing trend away from a single voting day and toward increasing use of absentee ballots and early voting. It started with the no-excuses absentee balloting law passed in California in 1978, and it reached its point with Oregon's universal vote by mail plan passed in 1998. Many states have been unaffected or only modestly affected by this trend, my state of Pennsylvania among them, but he warns that the genie can not be put into the bottle and the trend is gathering steam as sthe reform-friendly states are being held up by some as national models.

The author prefers early voting to no-excuses absentee voting. Under early voting, polling places are set up to cover areas much larger than a single precinct before the election at places which attract a large amount of traffic, such as governmental offices and shopping centers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by American Enterprise Institute research fellow John C. Fortier, Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Perils is examines how nearly a quarter of Americans today vote before election day, either through absentee ballot or early voting places. Absentee and Early voting questions whether or not the convenience of these practices has undermined the integrity of the process and weakened a unifying civic experience. Exploring the legal and historical reasons for alterations in the voting system, as well as the many variations across states, Absentee and Early Voting offers measured, rational conclusions about that changes in the system have meant for the nation across the decades, how America can better protect itself against voter fraud, and what should be America's next step. A cutting-edge study as accessible to lay readers as it is to scholars, Absentee and Early Voting is enthusiastically recommended for political science library and reference shelves.
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