Universal Mail-in Voting and the October Surprise

5 months in, and we’re still in a pandemic. At a minimum, we’re in our pandemic routine for the next 5 months. In less than 3 months, we’ll have the November 2020 election, which means this is the time to discuss how we adjust to and execute on a safe, general election.

I’ve been a mail-in voter (absentee) for as long as I’ve been able to vote in the U.S., and have gotten used to the benefit (who doesn’t love voting in the comfort of your home!) and the challenges it may pose. However, in my view, the absolute increase in mail-in voting across the country will happen as people are afraid to go to the polling booth and the wait time at the booth will be longer. This absolute increase in mail-in voting will have the effect to an election we haven’t seen before. This includes the well publicized delay in calling the race and less discussed, damper on the October surprise.

The October Surprise is a news event that is timed right before an election to influence the outcome of an election. In the case of this year’s election, I believe that the impact of such surprise may be less than previous elections and this is due to the increased % in mail-in votes. The logic is simple: mail-in ballot casters could send in their ballot early due to a) a fear of our current system being slow to process their ballot, b) the novelty of voting by mail, this could result in a larger percentage of voters making up their decision before the October Surprise.

With this in mind, I would love to see if there’s a way we can track and analyze these results for the upcoming election.

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