I am calling out my co-bloggers here to list the top three questions that they will be asked this campaign season.
For me, the list is pretty easy, and is reflected in today’s story by Adam Nagourney in the NY Times.
- “Who will be the first in the nation to cast a ballot?”
If we put aside UOCAVA voters, some of whom may have already have ballots in hand, the list here is pretty interesting. My crack research director, James Hicks, is close to assembling a nationwide “map” of early voting in the 2008 contest, and we’ll post this on electionline.org (and announce it here) as soon as it is done. Here is James’s email to Adam: KY requires its absentee (and regular) ballots to be printed by 9/15; these are mailed beginning 9/16—this makes Kentucky the earliest I’ve seen. 45-day absentee mailing states include ID, VA, DE, AL, MA.
- “How many voters will cast early ballots?”
This one always requires a bit of explanation, because while we have a good sense of WHERE citizens cast their ballots, we don’t have a good sense of WHEN. In my home state of Oregon, I’ve often heard remarks that “everyone” votes early, whereas in fact between 15-25% of citizens take their ballots in to the county office on election day. County recorders in California have to deal with 100’s of thousands of “absentee” ballots that are dropped off in precincts on election day.
That being said, I made my call of 33% in the NY Times story and I’m sticking by it!
- “How does early voting affect the campaigns?”
I am not going to go into detail here. Every reporter takes their own unique spin on this question, but there is no doubt that the quick answer is: “Hugely.”
So Michael and Thad, you’re up next. What are the top three questions you will be asked this election season?