“Vote early and vote often.” That allegedly was the advice given to Chicago Democrats by Mayor William Hale Thompson in the early part of the 20th century.
Thanks to easier availability of absentee voting this year, York County residents can take advantage of the legal part of that recommendation.
There is no persuasive evidence that voters in any state routinely try to outsmart poll watchers and cast more than one ballot. The charge of frequent voter fraud is, itself, fraudulent.
But the desire for an early voting option is real. Witness the popularity of voting before Election Day in the many states that permit it.
South Carolina, unfortunately, is not one of those states. But York County voters this year will have an easier time casting an absentee ballot before Nov. 8 – which, in effect, is a form of early voting.
On Monday, the Office of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections for the county opened a temporary satellite absentee voting site at Rock Hill’s City Hall. The site will be located at 155 Johnson St. in the Wellness Center on the first floor of City Hall.
Voters may request absentee ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until the day before Election Day. The site also will be open for those hours on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 5.
Those voting absentee in person will have to produce a photo ID. They can qualify to vote absentee for a variety of reasons, including plans to be out of town on Election Day or because employment might interfere with their ability to cast a ballot.
Anyone 65 or older may cast an absentee ballot. Curbside voting also will be available at a designated parking space on Hampton Street.
In past elections, the only site for voting absentee was the Board of Elections office in the E.C. Black Building in York. That site also will be open this year, but the location is inconvenient for may voters in the eastern part of the county.
The designation of another absentee voting site in Rock Hill should be welcomed by many voters who might not be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 8. It also could help shorten the lines on Election Day at precincts around the county.
We have long opposed strict new voter ID laws, which are most likely to suppress the votes African-American citizens. Earlier this year, in fact, the Supreme Court refused to allow North Carolina to reinstate its controversial voter ID law, ruling that it had a disparate impact on minority voters. Other states also have had their voter ID laws challenged for the same reason.
We think states should be doing all they can to encourage residents to vote, not throw obstacles in their path to combat a non-existent voter-fraud problem. Allowing early voting – or, in the case of York County, making absentee voting more accessible – is a boon to participation in the democratic process.
Don’t vote often. But by all means, do vote.