Thursday, October 30, 2008

Record Voter Turnout

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

All across America, we are seeing voters participate in the early vote process at record levels. Several states have already seen more than 1 million voters cast ballots, and here in Nevada more than 35% of all registered voters are participating - and the numbers are increasing in the final days of the early voting process.

Using Nevada as a specific example, early vote usually comprises 50% of the total turnout in an election. If we use that historical trend and figuring that the 35% participating rate will conclude at a 40% rate by the end of the early vote period - we could be looking at 80% voter turnout on election day.

What this points to is that election officials are bracing for huge turnout on election day all over the country.

These numbers are so high that at first glance, political professionals would think they don't make sense. They suggest that we need to check and re-check our data. But the data is in fact accurate - and the turnout is through the roof. It's unbelievable - I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Ok, so let's say it's not 80% and instead only peaks at 70%. Hell, even the 60% participation rate of the 2004 election was historic (the highest recorded rate was 63% in 1963).

One news station predicts 68% turnout in Nebraska, parts of Illinois predicting 80% and in Nevada the projected levels are also at 80%.

What does this all mean for you?

Apart from the historic nature of these levels of participation, it also means that we could see extremely long lines and waits on election day. ABC News reports:

A record number of Americans are voting early this year, and Election Day turnout is expected to be so high that experts predict long, snaking lines -- and plenty of legal challenges.

"A key question," says Edward B. Foley, of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, "is whether the infrastructure can handle the volume that we will see."
If you have the opportunity, please look into voting early or Vote-by-Mail (which is the method of choice in states like California). And be sure to tell your friends. Otherwise, be sure to pack a lunch to take along with you to the polling place on Tuesday...