Guess what started today?
If you said “voting,” you nailed it. Or at least close enough. Yes, we’re 60 days out from Election Day, but Election Day ain’t what it used to be.
So, today, as voting expert Michael McDonald reports, North Carolina began sending out early voting ballots. He estimates that some 35 percent of all voters will vote before the rest of us go to the polls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
Which means that lots of people will be voting before the debates (which begin on October 3 and wrap up on October 22). Before much of the avalanche of advertising – it’s no surprise that the Romney campaign is up with a massive new buy starting right now. Before the November 4 jobs report; before, in some cases, the October 7 jobs report. Before any October surprise, any mid-October gaffe or revelation, any late-October scandal embarrassing some obscure Member of the House and putting one of the nominees on the spot.
I think by now all of us who pay attention to elections know about early voting in all its variations (and surely the campaigns do), but I’m not sure we’ve fully incorporated it into our working calendars of the election. So a big reminder: From now on, the campaigns are no longer appealing to the entire electorate. Just those who haven’t voted yet.