Absentee Ballots Shape Election
This governor’s race is a close one, and every vote is crucial as the candidates approach the finish line. As they look for last minute support, political experts say that the way people are voting could become as important as the votes themselves. “It really behooves that candidate, that campaign or that party to put a lot more time, or a lot more resources and a lot more effort into encouraging people to vote early and utilize those absentee ballots,” said Mark Brewer, an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at UMaine. With over 130,000 absentee ballot votes recorded, candidates who show strong support early on could potentially lock in more votes on election day.Brewer says, “You can tell what the split is between Democrats and Republicans, unenrolled voters and those that are being returned, so that allows you to demonstrate strength to a certain degree.”Brewer guesses that if it did not change election results, it would at least change the margins. It could explain why absentee ballots returned for this election show a near even split between Democrats and Republicans.While the decision is ultimately up to the voter, it’s clear the absentee and early voting trend can shape an election campaign.