The Right Stuff commends your attention to George Will’s commentary on the U.S. House District 13 special election on Friday’s op-ed page in the Tampa Tribune/TBO.com.
Although Will fascinatingly soft-pedals the implications to the GOP in November of a loss in March by Republican David Jolly (“If Democrat [Alex] Sink wins, the significance will be minimal because she enjoys multiple advantages”), he reserves his strongest lament for a civic event of declining importance — a lament shared here.
“Sink will benefit from the national trend allowing early voting to obliterate Election Day. Any Floridian who has ever requested an absentee ballot henceforth gets one automatically. Seventy-seven percent of the Republican primary votes here were cast by mail in the Jan. 14 primary, and absentee ballots will be mailed today. Furthermore, early voting at polling places begins March 1, so many — perhaps most — votes will be cast before Jolly has raised much of the money necessary to communicate his message.
“Instead of a community deliberation culminating in a shared day of decision, an election like the one here is diffuse and inferior. If Sink wins, Republicans nationally can shrug; if Jolly wins, Democrats should tremble. But no matter who wins, the district loses because it has lost Election Day.”
I know we hate it when Yankees come South and tell us how they did things back home, but the important sanctity of Election Day is one of those areas where Florida should take heed. Enormous New York, essentially the same size as Florida and like more than a dozen northern states, has no early voting and issues absentee ballots only to voters who assert they will be absentee. And nobody squawks.
Let’s reclaim our civic unity by reclaiming our civic calendar. Let’s do this.