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Pennsylvania will probably be very late on early voting

Monday, November 1st, 2010



Whole voters across the tristate area head to the polls Tuesday, voters in some areas of the country have already cast their ballots. Early voting exists in more than 30 states. But it may be a while before the practice comes to this area.

In some states, residents can cast their ballots several weeks to a month ahead of election day. Other states, such as Oregon, have done away with the traditional polling place. Instead, voters mail in their ballots.

Officials in those states say mail-in ballots save money. But on the East Coast, few states allow for early voting.

Paul Gronke is director of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

“Really the holdouts now are the Northeast states, and some Midwestern states.” said Gronke. “These are more traditional political cultures, they tend to be older states meaning they’ve been in the Union a longer time and a lot of the provisions and habits have ingrained themselves. So I think there’s resistance to early voting.”

Gronke says eliminating polling places could save money. And, in a city such as Philadelphia, early voting could also cut into the power base of the local political machine.

Zack Stalberg, director of the watch-dog group The Committee of Seventy, said “All of that takes the power out of the hands of the politicians and puts it into the people and makes it more likely that they will vote.”

Stalberg said Pennsylvania could be one of the last states to incorporate early voting.


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