Waiting to Vote: $1 Billion Opportunity Cost?

(Photo: Ho John Lee)

I was on the public-radio show Marketplace Tuesday evening, interviewed about waiting (sparked, I assume, by lines of people waiting to vote).  I never vote on Election Day and never have to wait to vote: I take advantage of Texas’s early voting, which is quick and easy. I estimate the opportunity cost of people waiting in line on Tuesday — the value of their time — was around $1 billion.  Those resources would have been much better spent creating facilities for early voting in all states. For that sum, a lot of election workers’ salaries could be paid and polling facilities could be kept open from late October through early November.  An additional virtue is that more people might vote, and expanding democracy would be a good thing.  Who couldn’t support this reallocation of resources?

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  1. Jason says:

    An expanding Constitutional Republic sounds more enticing.

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  2. Josh Gable says:

    I voted the Friday before election day in Madison, WI and had to wait in line for over 2 hours. In retrospect I think that I should have just voted on Election Day.

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  3. pawnman says:

    What you don’t take into account is that the $1 billion you want re-allocated by the government to create polling places isn’t currently in the government’s hands. So you effectively want to impose an additional $1 billion tax on people waiting to vote. No thank you…I can decide if it is worth my time or not to wait in that line, vote early, or come back when it is not a peak time for voting.

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  4. RGJ says:

    To make a point by exaggeration, why not just cast my 2012 and 2016 ballots at the same time?

    The timeline is sent up so that the voters are judging toward the end of an elected officials term. Newspaper endorsements, debates, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and coverups all need to be weighed.

    There is too much hanky-panky with voting before election day. What if something happens to want a voter to change their mind three weeks before the constitutional balloting date, even though they mailed their VBM? Should they do it?

    I say get your butt to the polls on Election Day, and it is incumbent upon the system to make sure they have facilities that will allow it to take no more than 20 minutes. Legitimate absenteee/invalid ballots are fine, but Vote By Mail is a slippery slope. Sign here and get your free Walmart gift card.

    Personally, I think you should have to answer 3 of a randomly generated 10 questions to be even allowed to cast a vote. Questions like “What is your state’s governor’s name?, “How many states are in the union,” etc.

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