We’re in the last week of the election season, and in years past this was usually when the various campaigns make while accusations about cheating or scandal or corruption. But in modern politics we don’t have election day so much as we have election month.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, as of last night 40,599 ballots have already been cast in North Dakota’s elections. Of that total 18,068 were absentee ballots, 19,695 were vote-by-mail ballots and 2,836 were early voters.
To put that number into perspective, in the last mid-term election in 2010 the state saw a total of 240,876 ballots cast. The early voting number is just over 16 percent of that total.
Of course, North Dakota has seen some fairly rapid population growth, so those who have already voted may represent a smaller portion of overall voters once all the ballots are counted.
Still, as each day goes by last-minute maneuvering by the campaigns becomes less and less effective, because more of the voters they hope to convince will have already locked in their votes.
Heck, early in-person voting just started this week.
Regardless, early voting has changed the shape of politics in America. The campaigns that still have ground to make up aren’t likely to get it done this week.