As we spend the day recounting yesterday, there were no incidents of voter fraud in the states where the GOP made a fuss over ACORN and other voter registration groups.
In fact, voting
went remarkably smoothly, despite the surge in turnout -- a result, many voter experts say, of the use of early voting in key states.
Which raises key questions -- why isn't there early voting in all
states? And after all of the debate over voter registration fraud, why not just institute universal voter registration?
"The single most important thing that Congress can do right now is create universal voter registration, which would mean that all eligible voters are automatically registered," said Rosemary E. Rodriguez, the chairwoman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, in an article on the subject in the New York Times
The majority of states -- 32 -- have early-voting, with Congress discussing its expansion, the Times
In fact, legislation for universal registration is already in the works in Sen. Hillary Clinton's office -- which would minimize long lines and the problems created by third-party groups like ACORN
, which might sate the appetite of the GOP who has long accused ACORN of propagating voter registration fraud.
But, as the Times
points out, even though making voting easier might sound like a non-partisan issue accepted by both sides of the aisle, it is anything but:
Lorraine C. Minnite, a political science professor and voting rights expert at Barnard College, said Republicans had generally resisted such efforts in part out of concern about ineligible voters like noncitizens being permitted to vote.
"But the bigger reason that Republicans have resisted expanding the franchise," Dr. Minnite said, "is that the new people who are likely to come into the electorate are more often of lower income and are people of color, who tend to vote Democratic."
Tom Jensen, a Democratic pollster based in Raleigh, N.C., said early voting gave Mr. Obama the edge for his narrow victory in North Carolina by offering his campaign more time to organize rides and get people to the polls. Mr. Jensen noted that Mr. Obama won early balloting by 178,000 votes but lost among Election Day voters by 165,000 votes.
"Obama had a great ground game," he said, "but if you only have 13 hours to get everyone out, it's much harder."