Elections in the News

Early voting coming to an end

Early voting –with long lines and delays, was also intense on Friday in Atlanta, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington D.C..

In Georgia, the long lines affected voters’ mood. Based on a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “the lines stretching through buildings and around city blocks were by turns upbeat, friendly, frustrated and sometimes violent.”

As the deadline for early voting approached, figures about early voting turnout started appearing in the news. Until Thursday/Friday , about 5% of registered voters had voted in Franklin County (Ohio), 11% throughout Illinois and 16% in the Chicago region, 30% in Miami-Dade County (Florida), 31-35% in Georgia (AP and Atlanta Journal-Constitution), 37% in Harris County (Texas), 35% in North Carolina, 40% Lee County (Florida), 53% in Nevada -including absentee ballots, and more than 56% in Colorado.

According to The Associated Press, the high early voting turnout in Colorado was motivated by “grim warnings about long lines on Election Day.”

Absentee voting has also been intense. In South Carolina, the State Election Commission determined that election offices would open on Saturday “to handle a surge in absentee voters”. A record number of absentee ballots was also observed in New Hampshire.

There were also stories about problems with absentee balloting. For instance, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that “up to 100 voters have complained to the Philadelphia watchdog group the Committee of Seventy that they received absentee ballots too late to make yesterday’s 5 p.m. filing deadline, the group reported yesterday. Some have not received them at all.”

Rumors about attempts to deceive voters

The Philadelphia Inquirer warned about people spreading “lies and misinformation” to discourage voter turnout. It reports that “In Philadelphia, anonymous fliers circulated a month ago in African-American neighborhoods warning that police will be at the polls on Election Day looking for traffic ticket scofflaws. In Hampton Roads, Va., those who would tamp down turnout put out an official-looking flier deceiving citizens that “to ease the load” on election precincts, voting will be done this year on two days: Republicans on Nov. 4 and Democrats on Nov. 5.”

Inés and Janell