Early voting was such a big hit in Florida that now the state’s election officials want to replace Election Day and voting precincts with an Election period where voters would go to large voting sites to cast their ballots.
This past election season marked the first time that Florida used early voting across the state and it was a proven success, as some voters waited in line for hours in order to cast their ballot ahead of Election Day.
Election supervisors say the experience showed them they could move away from the traditional Election Day and a precinct structure many believe is outdated. Instead of hundreds of precincts in a county, for example, voters could go to any of a few super-voting sites equipped with enough machines and personnel to keep lines at a minimum.
I watched television coverage of the long lines at the early voting locations in Florida, and figured they where due to too few voting machines and/or low staffing at the sites, as election officials underestimated the popularity of early voting.
That certainly isn’t the case in Tennessee, where we’ve had early voting in specific locations for a number of years, but still relies on precincts for voting on Election Day. I am a big fan of Early voting. I have only had to wait in a long line once while taking advantage of it, which I started doing when I moved into Knoxville proper. And believe it or not, I didn’t have to stand in a long line this year. My wife and I stood in line for early voting during the 2002 mid-term election and since then we’ve changed the site we use to a less popular one. I especially like the convenience of voting when and where I want to vote. Skipping long lines is just a side benefit. Most of the time I have taken advantage of it for general elections, although Tennessee offers it for all elections including the primaries.