One Third May Vote Early

Early voting is already open in some states. Up to 1/3 of voters may vote before Election Day. I plan to vote early, just to avoid any problems and lines at polling places. I think it's a surer way to make sure my vote gets counted.

I'm wondering about the effect of any "October Surprise." It will be too late if it comes after enough people have voted.

Encourage everyone you know at work and in your social life to vote early. Don't take a chance on a last minute sleazy attempt by Republicans to change people's minds.

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    I doubt anyone who votes early (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by myiq2xu on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:29:06 PM EST
    will be swayed one way or the other by anything that happens between now and election day.

    Undecideds don't vote early

    It can make a difference in a crowded field (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:31:57 PM EST
    One example is the Republican primary in Florida this past January.

    There is good reason to believe that early voters from Fred Thompson acted as spoilers for Mitt Romney, who came on strong at the end.

    In a head-to-head contest you're probably right, though.


    In my state, (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oldpro on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:34:17 PM EST
    Washington, all but 2 counties have chosen to vote by mail and even those two may vote absentee.  Experience shows that about 1/3 vote early, 1/3 in the interim and 1/3 wait til election day to turn in a ballot.

    The paper ballots are counted by electronic scanners.

    The security gaps unaddressed are at the post office and during delivery to county auditors for safekeeping.  Additionally, there are drop boxes near the courthouse for 'unmailed' ballots.  Are they emptied every day and who secures their transport to the auditor's office?

    There is no perfect system but some are better than others.

    Most systems are fine for a state (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:35:58 PM EST
    that's decided by a margin greater than say a point.

    Washington's last gubernatorial race (none / 0) (#18)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:13:28 PM EST
    turned on much less than one percentage point. Gregoire was delcared the winner by 133 votes.

    Percentage Margin
    Gregoire: 48.8731%
    Rossi:    48.8634%

    Republican claims of "voter fraud" were a joke (and were rejected by a Republican county prosecutor and a Republican judge). Oldpro is right. The devil is in the details of how to secure the ballots once they are cast.

    I haven't done absentee-balloting yet because I rent and there is always a chance I may not be living where I'm registered by the time the ballots are mailed out. But next year King County is joining the mail-in ballot standard form across the state.  


    And in my county (none / 0) (#23)
    by oldpro on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 03:33:12 PM EST
    we have had at least one tied voted decided by a coin flip, one race won by one vote...a legislative seat won by three votes...and those are just the ones I remember.

    I hope it's not the 1/3 polled by AP--Yahoo!!! (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 03:59:01 PM EST

    Sleaze is not only a Republican skill. (3.50 / 2) (#22)
    by codekeyguy on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:43:48 PM EST
    "Don't take a chance on a last minute sleazy attempt by Republicans to change people's minds."

    And the Democrats don't do anything sleazy?  Al Franken writing SNY skits?  Sandra Bernhard with her trashmouth? The stupidity of Reid, Pelosi, Dean?  Obama claiming innocence when the Kossacks make reference to Trig as Bristol's baby? Obama claiming not to take lobbyist money, but his campaign claims it is the "symbolism".  He has lobbyist "volunteers" on his campaign staff, "employees" of lobbying firms make donations, Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac have LOBBYED congresscritters for 20 years, and guess who is #3 on the largese list? (Hint: Obama after only 3 years in congress; Dowd is #1, but it took him over 17 years to achieve that)

    I'm not saying that Republicans are pure, but the Democrats have honed sleze to the level of art form.
    (No sarcasm this time, this is a soapbox rant!)

    "If you can't beat 'em... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by oldpro on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 03:38:52 PM EST
    join 'em?"

    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 04:55:26 PM EST
    The same republicans who said that Clinton sold secrets to thc chinese, that Hillary killed Vince Foster, was a lesbian who slept with half the staff, etc, etc, etc?

    Look at what the republicans did to John McCain during the 2000 primary.  They demonized him as a manchurian candidate who was also mentally unstable.  They basically swift-boated his military experience to defend a guy whose father arranged guard service for him (and who often couldnt bother to show up).  The GOP loves to demonize.  They live on talk radio hatred because its exactly the kind of madness they want to hear.  It's 8 hours of daily slander and they love it.


    The repubs have won the sleaze (none / 0) (#29)
    by kenosharick on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 05:10:39 PM EST
    crown in the last few elections- look at what they did to Kerrey, and they brazenly stole the election in 2000.

    Your point is valid, but... (none / 0) (#24)
    by EL seattle on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 03:37:29 PM EST
    ... I disagree that either side has "honed sleaze to the level of art form" this year.

    From the days of "Ma, ma, where's my pa?" an on through to today, there should be a hall of fame/shame for campaign sleaze, at the level of art or not.

    I'm sure there is at least one website that has a catalog of this. (But I'm also sure that I'm too much of a lazy-ass today to bother with googley-stuff and find it.)


    Are early voting ballots different? (none / 0) (#1)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:08:54 PM EST
    as in paper ballots vs electronic voting? Do electronic voting places also offer paper ballots?

    We have the old lever machines still, so I don't worry as much as I would with new machines. But I have decided not to leave the top of the ticket blank. I'm not THAT trusting of either side {grin}

    In California, any registered voter (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:23:20 PM EST
    may choose to vote by "absentee" ballot.  Then the ballot is counted via scantron, I think.  

    I miss the old lever machines. What a simple (none / 0) (#7)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:38:57 PM EST
    way to vote. I've also lived where we had those punch ballots (with the chads :) ). Now, we have some new kind of machines where you turn a wheel like thing to get to the race you want to vote in or go to the next page or to choose yes or no.

    They are extremely confusing. It's like the Price is Right version of voting. They were part of voting reform here and are supposed to be the latest greatest way to go. I hate them.


    Here is what (none / 0) (#8)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:41:17 PM EST
    Too cheap to pay for touch screens? (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:46:05 PM EST
    Wow, that's a tedious voting system. The demo even confused ME.

    It seems designed to discourage people from voting all the way down the ballot.


    I know. I had to have them show me how (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:50:17 PM EST
    to use them. By the next election, I had to ask again and I'm not that stupid. I can't imagine how hard it is for some people. The reason they switched to them is it is supposed to prevent fraud. I'm not sure how. I get a receipt after I vote but I don't know what we are supposed to do with it.

    "Prevent fraud" usually means (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:51:45 PM EST
    "keep blacks and poor people from voting."

    Yeah. I was just clicking on some other links (none / 0) (#12)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    and I read that TN is one of the top eight states where electronic voting fraud is possible. I guess it's a good thing we rarely have a close race statewide.

    I'm pretty sure PA is on that list too (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:00:22 PM EST
    Did I mention that I'm worried about PA. . .?

    I wish they hadn't changed the first debate (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:02:25 PM EST
    from domestic to foreign policy. Now would be a great time to have an economic debate. I still can't find out why they changed it but both campaigns agreed to it.

    I think the new scheduling is better (none / 0) (#19)
    by s5 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:13:28 PM EST
    Foreign policy is one of those areas where the Republican just has to say "I'm going to bomb [X, Y, and Z]", and they get praise for having "serious" foreign policy chops, no matter how ridiculous their ideas are. So the economic news will bury any interest in considering more wars, and completely neuter McCain in the foreign policy debate. Then by the time the election comes around, the final debate on the economy will be fresh in everyone's minds.

    Also I think people's worries about the economy are still fresh, and reopening the issue of Iraq and "the surge" (since that's all the foreign policy debate will be about I'm sure) will seem uninteresting. McCain really wants the subject to change away from the economy, and it won't. If we waited to talk about foreign policy in October, people will be ready to change the subject by then. It's important to keep the focus on the economy for the remainder of the election season, and this debate schedule helps with that.


    I read that since Obama's perceived (none / 0) (#21)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:21:40 PM EST
    weakness is foreign policy, it's good for him to have that one first. The article said the first debate has the largest audience. Maybe the Obama people negotiated this in exchange for something in a later debate. Like the format change for Biden/Palin.

    I still think he would have been better off with the economy first. But maybe the Paulson thing will be better defined by the last debate and there will be less unknowns for them to have to talk about.


    October surprises (none / 0) (#15)
    by s5 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:04:42 PM EST
    Do they really happen? We didn't get one in October 2004. The closest thing we had to that was the bombshell of the swift boats controversy. In this election, it will probably be the banking meltdown that comes the closest to being an October surprise.

    Another possibility - Obama's campaign has heard the phrase "October surprise" a few times, and they like the idea enough to do it themselves.

    We had Osama's tape right before the (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Teresa on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:09:16 PM EST

    You're right (none / 0) (#20)
    by s5 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:14:38 PM EST
    Good call, I had forgotten all about that.

    My other point remains, though - it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Obama campaign had an October surprise of their own in store.


    Swift Boaters claimed Kerry's discharge (none / 0) (#26)
    by wasabi on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 03:57:20 PM EST
    was less than honorable in October of 2004.

    The raising of the terror alerts:
      May 2004 - They are going to attack and hit us hard," warns a senior intelligence official. Ashcroft relays an Al Qaeda threat that "ninety percent of the arrangements for an attack in the United States were complete."
      June 2004 - A shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio, is threatened by Al Qaeda bomber. "The American heartland was targeted for death and destruction," Ashcroft declares.
      July 2004 - Tom Ridge warns that "Al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process."
      August 2004 - Orange Alert. Citing "new and unusually specific" intelligence, Ridge details a threat to the Citigroup building and the New York Stock Exchange. Adds Bush, "We wouldn't be, you know, contacting authorities at the local level unless something was real." ((Alert came three days after Kerry took the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in Boston.))(( The "new" intelligence was actually three years old.))


    Bush's arrest for drunk driving (none / 0) (#32)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 08:10:37 PM EST
    back in his 20's. Didn't that come out a few days before the election?

    Yes, late in the campaign, I recall (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 10:02:20 PM EST
    because Bush was in my town when the news broke.

    My concern with this... (none / 0) (#17)
    by EL seattle on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    ...sort of progress is that I'm afraid that ultimately it will better-enable large organizions to coordinate the votes of their members.  Whether it's a church congregation, or union, or blog-based fan club, I'm suspicious of the possibilities of trouble, especially on the local level.  

    I have a naive paranoia about big throngs, I guess.

    Will these ballots be counted early? (none / 0) (#30)
    by laila on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 05:21:38 PM EST
    If so will they be an exit poll of sorts?  Or will these votes be tallied on election day?

    In most states (none / 0) (#33)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 08:11:42 PM EST
    They aren't tallied until election day. In some states absentee ballots aren't counted at all unless they would make a difference in the outcome of the election.

    In my view (none / 0) (#31)
    by sas on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 07:50:40 PM EST
    voting early is a mistake.  If things aren't going a certain way....

    I would agree (none / 0) (#34)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 08:12:57 PM EST
    What if something BIG happens, like someone gets sick and is replaced with, oh, I dunno, say, Hillary. That might change a few votes. Just sayin'................

    October surprise (none / 0) (#35)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 08:14:44 PM EST
    Will just have to happen in early October, rather than later October, if so many people are voting early.