The question in the headline is only partly in jest.
In many states there has a trend to making early voting easier. The idea is that by making voting easier turnout will increase. As economists are found of saying, people respond to incentives. So by lowering the cost of voting more of us will vote, right? Not necessarily.
Careful empirical analysis finds that there is more early voting, but not so often.
Megan McArdle takes a crack at an explanation for the result:
One way to think about it is that voting signals something about you to others in the community, but with the advent of early voting, that signal is no longer so powerful: someone who doesn't turn up on election day might not have voted, or they might simply have gotten it out of the way weeks before.Has your parish kept a tradition of a Stewardship Sunday where the congregation brings forward their pledge cards? For those who are present that Sunday who may have turned in their pledge cards early, how do you include them? Do you encourage folks to turn in their pledge cards early? Has Stewardship Sunday lost its significance in a world where many churchgoers are not every Sunday churchgoers?
This isn't perhaps quite as surprising as it seems. Dan Ariely's book discussed a pre-school in Israel where a day care center started charging a fee for parents who were late picking up their children, only to see the number of late pick-ups rise--apparently once there was a fee, parents no longer felt guilty about being late. The day care then rescinded the fee, but the norm--"don't pick up your kids late" had already been broken; now parents simply concluded that there was no penalty at all, and the problem became even worse.
Economists like to say "incentives matter", but we need to be careful that we understand what peoples' incentives are before we try to change them.
Finally, is the theology behind pledge card Sunday sound? Or is it merely perceived to be an effective fund raising technique?