Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweet Caroline -- UPDATED, AGAIN

So far, so good...
[AP] NORTH CAROLINA

Early voting opened Thursday and drew some 214,000 voters to the polls in the first two days, leading to hours-long lines in parts of the state and lengthy schedules for poll workers.

In the first few days, the balloting clearly favored Democrats, with those registered with the party making up 62 percent of those who had voted. Only 22 percent of the voters had been registered Republicans.

North Carolina has 15 electoral votes.

HOLY SHIT UPDATE: Well, THIS is not good news...
NC is one of two states in the country where straight ticket voting does not count for President. This unusual exception trips up tens of thousands of voters every 4 years.

North Carolina lost 92,000 votes for President in 2004 due to straight ticket confusion. Our state has one of the highest undervote rates for President in the Country because of this.

Voters have very little reason to know about this exception, since it is not intuitive, and it was not even mentioned in the 3 million + voter guides mailed to households all over North Carolina.

What fucking genius came up with that shit? (Answer: probably a Republican) I can only hope that this is pant-soiling news to me since I am new to North Carolina—the only reason I know about this is the Obama campaign sent a mailer to my house yesterday.

Here's my double-edged take on this: Hundreds of thousands of new voters have registered in NC—most of them Dems. Hopefully the fact that they are so motivated to cast a vote for Obama means that they zero right in on that choice and don't miss it. On the other hand, they are all first-time voters, so the likelihood of confusion or error with the ballot is high.

Fuck.

UPDATE 2— Double-fuck:
My mother has been working the polls in North Carolina for early voting [...] she says that in the last few days alone, she has personally seen at least 200 votes intended to go to Obama that were not being counted (in other words, people telling her how excited they are to see Obama elected, only to find out that by selecting the straight democratic line, they never even cast a vote for him).

Smitty, Bob—hold each other.

UPDATE 3—BETTER NEWS: If that shit has you down, this should help...
I squeaked in just before the 7pm deadline to find two very frustrated poll workers and a line of a couple dozen people, due to problems with the computerized voting system not accepting people's driver's licenses. It was taking about 7-10 minutes per person just to get the computer to accept them as valid and to print out their ballot, causing very long delays.

For me the most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18 year old girl voting for her first time and a 90-something hunched-over grandmother), got their turn to vote. When the old woman left the voting booth she made it about halfway to the door before collapsing in a nearby chair, where she began weeping uncontrollably. When we rushed over to help we realized that she wasn't in trouble at all but she had not truly believed, until she left the booth, that she would ever live long enough to cast a vote for an African-American for president. Anyone who doesn't think that African-American turnout will absolutely SHATTER every existing record is in for a very rude surprise.

There were about 20 people in front of me but remarkably not a single person left the room without voting over the 2 hours it took to get through the line.

17 comments:

Smitty said...

Dude...I am so nervous about this I can't even listen to NPR any more. All I can do is bring myself to read your blog and John Cole's blog and that's about it.

Gonna do some door-to-door over the next few weeks for some local candidates but will have plenty of Obama lit with me. I live in a lean-republican district that elected its first Dem ever last election cycle.

Bob said...

I am a fu&*ing nervous wreck. My sleep is screwed up, I cannot get any work done. I am a Real Clear Politics addict.

Please someone help me.

Smitty said...

Fuckity fuckity fuck-fuck.

Here's my biggest problem: WHY would you allow for that provision on your printed ballots knowing that it is misleding and wrong????

Fixed. Fixed fucking electioneering bullshit.

Oh God. Well...I should start getting my work visa prepared for Canada.

Hold me.

Mr Furious said...

WHY would you allow for that provision on your printed ballots knowing that it is misleding and wrong????

Because this was a Republican Machine state—and suppression works for them.

steves said...

So, is this something that is a secret or is it on the instructions? How long has this been the rule?

I like when they streamline voting and make the process easier, but how fucking easy does it have to be? I hear how people that have to wait in line for more than 20 minutes won't vote or how the weather makes a difference. Good grief, the presidential election only comes along every 4 years and people don't want to wait in line or drive in bad weather. Lazy assbags.

Bob said...

Well the good part of it is:

"...the only reason I know about this is the Obama campaign sent a mailer to my house yesterday."

At least Obama is on top of it.

Didn't I predict you'd move back to Michigan? How many reasons do you need? 1) Ashville has crappy drivers, 2) they rig the straight ticket ballot....more?

I for one don't vote a straight ticket. I prefer to vote for Democrats one at a time.

Bob said...

oh, and "hold me"

Mr Furious said...

I might have to vote early, just so I can see what the fuck is up with this ballot...

Mr Furious said...

I hear how people that have to wait in line for more than 20 minutes won't vote

That's a factor when you work two jobs and don't have time to waste.

If Election Day isn;t going to be a holiday (which STILL wouldn't help a LOT of voters) at least we can start doing early voting or vote-by-mail or something.

Voting is a right, not a rite of passage.

John Howard said...

I don't understand what straight ticket voting is or how it applies here. Are people not voting for President under the mistaken impression that some other indicator on their ballot will indicate their choice? I don't get it.

Mr Furious said...

Back when I lived in New York City, we voted with those antiquated mechanical lever machines...You needed to physically flip a lever for each thing on the ballot, and then crank 'em all home by pulling the big lever. To make that process easier, you could flip a straight ticket "master" switch that selected the entire column according to party.

I don't recall whether the paper ballot in Michigan had that or not, since I didn't vote straight ticket—I voted for a Republican mayor and withheld my vote for Stabenow—plus I enjoy the process of going down the ballot one-by-one.

Mr Furious said...

John, I guess I failed to answer your question...North Carolina is one of only two states where voting straight ticket does NOT include a vote cast for the President. I believe South Carolina is the other.

IIRC, in Connecticut a straight party voting mechanism is illegal. Toast?

So, yes, common sense would dictate that selecting "All Democrats" means you're voting for all the Democrats

Mike said...

I'm with John here: WHAT IS straight ticket voting? I don't even understand the concept.

Forget whether it should be illegal or not; what is it?

Mr Furious said...

Simply put, it's walking in and voting a complete party slate with one flip of a lever/punched hole/filled circle.

You don't have to go line by line, race by race and select candidates, you just vote "Democrat."

Argue the merits of that if you like (I kinda think it's lazy & thoughtless) but what I know is ridiculous is to have that and NOT include what one would argue is the most important item on the ballot. It should include ALL partisan offices on the ballot, or don't offer it.

michelline said...

I don't believe we even have the option of voting for party ticket in Florida. I know I've never used that option. I have to hand do my ballot all the way.

John Howard said...

That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of. However, if you're going to have it, it should certainly apply to everything, otherwise, you're just begging for mistakes.

Mike said...

That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of. However, if you're going to have it, it should certainly apply to everything, otherwise, you're just begging for mistakes.

I agree 100%.