Archive

  • TURN OUT ALREADY!...

    TURN OUT ALREADY! I walked over to the Philadelphia DNC headquarters at Broad and Walnut just now, hoping to tap into the voter vibe. The Center City streets were packed with people on their way to lunch, but I didn�t see a single flier or button. The office itself was deserted save for one worker, who was talking on the phone in the back room while he chain-smoked cigarettes. He looked like a union stalwart in his thick denim shirt hovering over the polling locations page in the newspaper; I imagined him to be a big fan of Congressman Bob Brady , who rose to prominence through the carpenters� and teachers� union and who now represents Pennsylvania�s 1st District. When he got off the phone, he gave me a hoarse laugh when I asked if anyone else was coming in to volunteer. �I�m the only one here today answering phones,� he said. �About a hundred people been calling; you�d be surprised how many don�t know where to go even though they got their cards.� My own polling place at a nearby...
  • HERE WE GO AGAIN.

    HERE WE GO AGAIN. I just heard Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, after he and Tucker Carlson and Norah O'Donnell clucked about how Jim Webb and Bob Casey Jr. and Harold Ford prove that Democrats are winning by running as conservatives, claim that �Democrats have come a long way since they prevented Bob Casey from speaking at their 1992 conventions ... and they�re gonna win because of it.� What�s coming our way is a narrative suggesting that Democrats won by acting like centrists or �Republican-lite� candidates. This is absurd. Dennis Yedwab of Media Matters for America has collected data on the Democratic candidates in the top 58 House races (which includes a lot of red states and/or red districts). How many of the 58 are self-described "pro-life"? Nine. How many oppose embryonic stem cell research or support privatization of Social Security or oppose raising the minimum wage. None, none and none again. A pack of Zell Miller s this is not. Yet the national chattering class -- arguing from...
  • MAJOR MACHINE MALFUNCTION?

    MAJOR MACHINE MALFUNCTION? : Classic election day headline from the Denver Post : Voting nightmare: Problems grow worse. The Post reports that On a day already rife with computer glitches, long lines, and legal appeals to extend voting in Denver, provisional ballots are now running out at some Denver voting centers. Luckily, Colorado does not have any key Senate races this year. But this is still a travesty for democracy. The fact that there are no races here that are particularly high-profile or valuable to steal also goes to prove one of my long-standing suspicions -- that the biggest reason so many people are disenfranchised remains incompetence and under-funding in the election administration bureaucracy. --Ben Adler
  • CLOSE CALL.

    CLOSE CALL. Fears about de facto voter suppression are well-founded. Today I arrived at my local polling station in Virginia and ran the risk of not being allowed to vote. Virginia requires one form of identification -- of which the voter registration card mailed to you is acceptable. Voter registration card in hand, I was at first prevented from voting when they asked for a second form of ID and I had a driver's license that wasn't issued by the commonwealth of Virginia. (I had to explain to the worker that an out-of-state driver's license is acceptable if the voter also has the voter registration card.) Voting workers don't seem to be on the same page or understand the regulations correctly. Further, states that have passed requirements for a current driver's license with a correct address shut out people who are new to the area, in addition to legal immigrants. (And we all know how much of a pain in the ass going to the DMV is.) It makes me long for my home state of Minnesota,...
  • ONE MORE PREDICTIONS POST.

    ONE MORE PREDICTIONS POST. Is it too late for one more set of dart-throwing educated guesses? As the resident contributor to TAP 's Midterm Madness , I feel compelled to embarrass myself with as many wildly inaccurate predictions as my colleagues. As it turns out, my take is close to Rob , slightly more optimistic than Sam , and right on track with Ezra . * House: Democrats +23 * Senate: Democrats +5 (wins in OH, PA, RI, MT, and MO; just short in VA, AZ, and TN) * Governor: Democrats +7 (wins in NY, OH, MA, CO, AR, MN, and MD; just short in NV, ID, FL, and AK) In terms of unexpected results, I think Idaho will surprise some people with just how well Democrats do today; Michigan's statewide races will not be as competitive as Republicans had hoped; and Rick Santorum , after a bitter farewell address, will announce tomorrow that he's joining Fox News, where he'll co-host a show with Bob Novak called, "If You're Different, You're Wrong." And if, by chance, Democrats fall short, I promise...
  • AS GOES CT-05....

    AS GOES CT-05. Alec 's report on robocalls in the CT-05 race is terribly worrying. Mostlly because just before I read his post, I wrote the following: If the fifth congressional district in Connecticut goes to the Dems today, then I�ll predict a Democratic pickup of more than 21 seats. If the district goes Republican, the Dems will still win a majority of the House, but by a smaller margin -- possibly not greater than four. Why CT-05? In 2002 redistricting caused two incumbents, Republican Nancy Johnson and Democrat Jim Maloney to run against each other. Johnson won by about 10 points -- a larger margin than was expected at the time. And since then, Johnson has a gained reputation in the district for being something of a moderate. Johnson�s opponent is Chris Murphy -- a state senator from Waterbury, who by most accounts a fairly charismatic guy and attractive candidate. The most recent polls have shown the race to be neck and neck as Johnson�s lead evaporated over the summer. The...
  • ROBOCALLS.

    ROBOCALLS. Our own Alec Oveis , who sadly left the Prospect few months ago, calls in from Connecticut, where he's volunteering on behalf of Chris Murphy (one of Tom 's "Dropkick Murphys" positioned to defeat GOP incumbents this year). He reports that voter fury over robocalls is amazing and palpable at the polling site he's near. Several people have gone out of their way to tell him and other Murphy people that they're voting for Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson strictly out of anger at the harassing phone calls they've been receiving from the Murphy campaign. Alec and other's explanations that those calls are actually paid for by Republicans have generally been falling on deaf ears (they are, after all, holding Murphy signs while offering these explanations). Discuss what you're seeing, here . --Sam Rosenfeld
  • THIS IS WHAT VOTER SUPPRESSION SOUNDS LIKE.

    THIS IS WHAT VOTER SUPPRESSION SOUNDS LIKE. A recorded call from the "Virginia Elections Commission" informing this voter -- by name -- that he's registered in New York and will be arrested if he goes to the polling booth in VA. Remember kids, it's not just unethical, it's illegal . Daly, by the way, has voted in Viriginia for the last four election cycles. I'm getting independent e-mail reports of other calls like this, but this is the only one I know of that's been recorded. Hey media! Look over here! It's a story! --Ezra Klein
  • VOTER EXPERIENCES THREAD.

    VOTER EXPERIENCES THREAD. From a correspondent in a heavily Republican district in Ohio: We've got five statewide initiatives on the ballot, and the minimum wage one is the only one that the Democratic party has taken a stand on. It's issue 2. On my machine, Issue 2 began at the bottom of the page and said simply "constitutional amendment" (although with a few more words) and continued on next page. The only thing the next page had was Yes and No. No description of the initiative. A poll worker brought me a paper description, but she wasn't concerned when I asked what was going to happen to all the rest of the people who use that machine. Also, there were eight machines in the room for two precincts (same as when we used punch cards). At one point while we waited in line, three of them were down. A tech guy fixed them all, but then he left. I was very happy that the first race on the ballot allowed me to vote against Ken Blackwell. And this had nothing to do with Diebold's machines,...
  • HURRY UP AND WAIT.

    HURRY UP AND WAIT. It's safe to assume just about anyone with even a passing interest in politics is anxious to see what happens today, but it's worth taking a moment to remember that, in some of the very close races, it's possible we may not know the results tonight, or even tomorrow. [E]lection experts warn that the number of voters forced to cast provisional ballots Tuesday because of eligibility questions could delay some results in tight races for days or weeks. New statewide voter databases, strict ID requirements and other factors may increase the percentage of voters whose paper ballots must be reviewed by local officials. If there's a question about a voter's eligibility, he or she will still be able to cast what's called a "provisional ballot," the validity of which will be determined after other votes have been tallied. It's likely to come up with a voter goes to the wrong precinct, lacks required ID, is listed by a slightly different name than appears in state databases,...

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