While there’s 37 days left before the Sept. 14 primary election, in some ways, there’s really only 22 days left for many campaigns. Early voting starts in three weeks, part of an overhaul of elections regulations passed by the D.C. Council following election day mishaps in 2008.
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who spoke Friday on WAMU-FM’s Politics Hour about early voting and related voting matters, said the “glitches” from 2008 have had a silver lining of sorts:
Looking at all this, it gave us the opportunity to look around the nation, talk to experts, and to figure out how to not only respond to the particular problems that we had during that election but how to bring our election system into a place where we can have access to voting for all eligible voters and make it user friendly.
But as The Washington Post‘s Mike DeBonis has reported, there are concerns that the District might be making too many big changes to the voting system, too quickly. That includes the early voting, but also new equipment and registering to vote as late as election day.
Cheh, however, says she’s confident there will be an accurate election, especially with systems in place to catch errors and irregularities earlier. “If there is a glitch, it will be noticeable straight away.”
Starting Aug. 30 (excluding Sundays), voters will have the opportunity to cast an early ballot at One Judiciary Square. On Sept. 4, four additional voting locations will open—Chevy Chase Community Center, Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, Hine Junior High School, and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. (Here are complete details.)
As DeBonis has noted, the mayoral campaigns of Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray both will be pushing early voting. And most interesting, perhaps, is that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics “will update voter history information daily during the early voting period, meaning campaigns and anyone else who cares will be able to see who has and hasn’t voted yet after early polling starts Aug. 30.”
That should provide some valuable intel to the campaigns in the home stretch to Sept. 14!