Thad Hall, my fellow blogger, regularly pillories this election-line lede: “Election outcome will be decided by turnout.” What matters, Thad delights in pointing out, is not IF citizens turn out to vote but WHO they vote for.
I have a new annoyance for my good friend: elections that are “won” or “lost” by the early and absentee votes. Today’s story from the Bradenton County, FL Patch has the provocative title: “Early and Absentee Voting Could Determine Bradenton Results”.
Early votes are, perhaps, distinct from Election Day votes because of the day the ballots are cast. They may, perhaps, provide some insight into last minute campaign effects. But early voters are also traditionally more resistant to campaigns.
Early votes no more “determine” the outcome than does turnout. Early and absentee votes are just slices of the same electoral pie.