Elections in the News

Early voting trends

Some days ago, Charles Stewart III wrote that “it looks like Democratic registrants are taking more advantage of in-person early voting than Republicans” and Paul Gronke posted a link to a Pew (early voting) exit poll putting Obama up by 19.

Today, Time Magazine published a story about “How Early Voting Could Cost McCain Florida“. According to this account, “early-voting Democrats are outnumbering Republicans (…) by more than 20 percentage points, and a WSVN–Suffolk University poll has Barack Obama leading over John McCain 60% to 40% among early voters. What’s more, the number of early voters could approach 30% of all of Florida’s 11.2 million registered voters by the actual Nov. 4”.

Early voting by African Americans

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “African Americans are among those turning out in record numbers this year to cast their votes early“. And that one of the reason why blacks choose to participate in early voting, is because “apart from the historic opportunity to vote for a black presidential candidate, (…) they anticipate problems on election day that could keep their votes from counting.” The newspaper argues that “behind the fear is history: Many people have not forgotten the Jim Crow laws that prevented African Americans from voting until the 1960s. More recently, when some voters had difficulty with the punch-card design and ballots done improperly were rendered invalid in the 2000 election in Florida, black and Democratic leaders claimed a disproportionate number of those votes had been cast by African Americans. And in 2004 in Ohio, African American voters said they were disenfranchised when too few machines in their precincts led to long lines.”

Unexpected events do happen

According to the Miami Herald, in Vero Beach Fla. “A suicidal squirrel caused delays for early voters when it knocked out power for about 800 customers, including the Indian River County Library and Courthouse. Elections officials say early voting was slowed but not stopped at the library on Thursday. Voters were still able to cast their ballots by flashlight. Officials say a squirrel leaped from a tree onto a power line, causing a fire that tripped an electrical switch, knocking out a power line feeding a section of Vero Beach. The dead squirrel was found lying on the ground. Early voting continued as usual after power was restored. It was out for about an hour and a half.”

In Ohio, The Beacon Journal reports that “Poll workers from opposing sides in the presidential race apparently clashed in a physical altercation Friday at a Cuyahoga Falls nursing home when one accused the other of improperly marking a ballot”, although “the voter was able to cast a new, correct ballot with her desired choices, according to elections board officials.”

Last, we saw a story about a citizen who died of a heart attack while waiting in line to cast an absentee ballot.

Certainly, unexpected events do happen, and Election Day will probably not be an exception.

Can you guess what voters are talking about while they wait in line?

According to The Associated  Press, they are talking about the economy.

Inés and Janell