Washington Secrets

Election reform: 4 day, Saturday-Election Day voting period

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Larry Sabato

In a bid to get voters focused on the critical post-presidential debate period of national campaigns, a leading political advisor is pushing to scale back early voting to just the last four days of the election.

"People really shouldn't be voting until the debates are finished. We should concentrate on the campaign and the choice until then," said Larry Sabato, who heads the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "Once the debates are over, we can move to the voting phase. We might as well make universal the current practice in states such as Ohio for three or four days of voting--but then insist that all counting and certifying be complete, barring recounts, within a couple of weeks," he told Secrets.

Other suggestions from Sabato: Email voting for soldiers overseas; federal election standards and deadlines; no fault absentee voting where people don't have to provide an excuse; and printouts from electronic voting machines so voters can see their choice was accurate.

His main call for a four-day, end of campaign vote, would make sure voters had a chance to see the whole campaign, especially the debates, give them more time to get to the polls, especially on weekends, and end long Election Day lines.

"Let's concentrate all early voting in the last two or three weeks of the campaign, after all the debates, so voters get the full picture," he said. " Open all polls beginning on the Saturday before the Tuesday election. Let people come and vote at their convenience over four days; no one can justify the current inadequate situation in many states that forces voters to wait for four or six or eight hours in line in order to cast a ballot."

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