Paper of Note – “Convenience Voting: The End of Election Day”

We wanted to draw your attention to a white paper of note regarding the subject of a national Election Day.

The seven-page paper, now available for free download, was written by Graeme D. Orr, of The University of Queensland – T.C. Beirne School of Law.

Here’s an abstract about the paper in the author’s own words:

When and where we vote is a central element of the ritual of electoral democracy. In a trend across western democracies, there has been a significant shift towards ‘convenience’ voting. This article explores the history, rationale and law around postal and pre-poll voting (the dominant forms of convenience voting) and cautions against this trend deconstructing the communal experience of election day.

In the paper, Orr discusses the two main forms of early voting: Voting by mail and voting in person.

And he gives some perspective on that – adding information about how early voting is conducting outside of the United States of America.

Here’s an excerpt:

The contemporary shift to convenience voting is most prominent in the US, but it has also been a clear trend in other electoral systems, including Australia and the UK. In each of Australia and the UK’s 2010 elections, just under one-fifth of voters opted for convenience voting.2 This shift has involved reorientations in both legal and institutional practice, as well as voter expectations and behaviour.

Its potential effect is profound. Worldwide, debates about convenience voting have centred on its instrumental effects, in particular whether electoral integrity can be maintained while improving levels of participation. But the wholesale adoption of processes beyond the gathering of electors, in their community, to cast ballots on polling day also directly implicates the ritual experience of
elections for both individuals and the social whole. Indeed it goes to the core of the idea of what an ‘election’ is.

It’s worth a read. To get the paper, click here.

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