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The New Meaning of Election Day

Election Day ain’t what it used to be.  As John Gizzi reports, in the recent U.S. House election in California, the candidate who won at the polls on Election Day — lost the election.

Conservatives candidates and campaign managers must realize this trend, and adapt their strategies, accordingly.

Sure, it’s still important to have an effective Election Day GOTV program. But if you ignore early and absentee voting, you do so at your own peril.

In Texas, where I’ve done some work, about half the voters vote early (starting a few weeks prior to Election Day, they can vote in-person at the county courthouse, etc.). And in Oregon, the only way to vote is via mail. 

Of course, this trend didn’t just appear out of nowhere.  It is the result of an effort to make voting more convenient.  Voters used to have to provide a legitimate excuse to be able to vote absentee.  Today, most states allow you to vote absentee for any reason, whatsoever. 

An effective modern GOTV plan must include Election Day, early voting, and absentee voting. The results in California should serve as a wake-up call to conservative candidates who are a bit behind the curve on this one.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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