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27 October 2008

8 More Days ... Unless You Voted Today. I did. Stood in the blustery wind for over two hours this morning. My hands are still frozen. But it was worth it.

Georgia allows Advance Voting. Does your state? Or are you going to wait it out until Election Day?
I voted in September! It's exciting to see Georgia doing so much early voting... over one million people have voted here already! 18% of all registered voters! Whoo!
posted by BoringPostcards 27 October | 12:18
I voted early, too. Over one million have voted in Florida as well.
posted by LoriFLA 27 October | 12:22
We don't go for those new fangled thing like "early voting" here in PA. Considering that we still can't even buy beer in a liquor store, I doubt that we'll get early voting anytime soon.
posted by octothorpe 27 October | 12:34
Voted on October 1st here in Iowa. Maybe I should've waited, since it was my first presidential election, but I got it out of the way and don't have to walk too far in the FREEZING COLD to vote.
posted by dismas 27 October | 12:43
MuddDude and I voted on Sunday. The line wasn't too long - just out the door and through the library a bit. One of the poll workers told me that on Saturday the librarians had to ask all the voters to line up outside.
posted by muddgirl 27 October | 12:44
Last week, I had to talk to a fire marshal who threatened to close the building. There were enough people in the lobby and the meeting room to overwhelm the capacity rating for the whole library.

I early-voted on Friday. Looks like record turnouts in AR.
posted by box 27 October | 12:48
How do you guys feel about early voting? Do you trust it? Given the reality of election finagling, it makes me wonder about the security measures. How are the different systems registering the ballot intake and recording the vote? Where are the ballots stored between now and Nov. 4? Who has access to them? How and when will they be reported, and by whom?

Not to be paranoid, and I know many people are enthused about early voting, just wondering how come we are more willing to accept this than digital voting machines - especially because the cast ballots will be sitting around for some time, and I feel that makes thems omewhat vulnerable to manipulation.

I considered early voting by absentee ballot, but decided not to. I enjoy going to the polls, and I don't think the lines at my polling station will be terribly long.
posted by Miko 27 October | 12:55
Here in Georgia, you vote on the same voting machines you'd use on election day. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a separate discussion, I guess.
posted by BoringPostcards 27 October | 13:00
Thanks to Maryland being a bunch of fuckfaces (speaking of alcohol in my county, we can't even buy liquor except at specially run liquor stores that are controlled by the county. Therefore, I go 15 minutes to the next door county to do all my purchasing at an awesome place that sells limes, lemons, and paring knives at the cash register), I can't vote until election day. :(

(Although allowing early voting for the next election is on the ballot as one of those propsition thingys though.)
posted by sperose 27 October | 13:00
no early voting in NY.
I've never encountered a wait at any of the four city polling places I've had in my life. I did have to wait when I lived in the boonies, but only half an hour or so.
posted by kellydamnit 27 October | 13:00
I voted Saturday -- actually, half my family did, and it was the first presidential for both my nieces. (All for Obama in what looks like a safe state, Wisconsin.) I also voted early for Kerry because I was in a GOTV 527 and had to "work" election day. It was crazy at the polls that year, by the way, even here; and I mistakenly thought -- as did many -- that the high turnout equalled a Kerry lock.

Miko, I have to confess to some nervousness, but I've decided it's a psychological effect. The process isn't really that different from election-day voting and the poll workers here are almost certainly trustworthy, and the judges are partisanally balanced. (My mom, by the way, knows many of them through many years of doing nursing-home absentee balloting.) The system we use is a paper ballot marked with a pen ("complete the arrow") and counting by optical scanner. Ultimately I don't see the end-of-day counting either way.

The exit from the voting room at city hall led to the city council chambers, where in a roped-off area a big sign proclaimed "election machine testing taking place", basically in full public view. There were two technicians/officials checking each device. If that doesn't inspire confidence I'm not sure what will.

So I have few concerns about integrity here and few about professionalism. I know that isn't a universal sentiment. If I lived somewhere else I might have greater doubts.
posted by stilicho 27 October | 13:20
What BP said, except about Arkansas.
posted by box 27 October | 13:21
Admittedly, the big Diebold logos on the voting machines did not fill me with confidence and joy, but I cast my vote as I wanted , the "X" didn't make a sudden leap to the other side, and now, it's done. All that's left is the waiting and the encouraging of others to go do the same.
posted by grabbingsand 27 October | 13:27
Miko: I'm a little nervous about my ballot (which was, thankfully, a paper ballot - I'm not sure whether Iowa's switched to electronic machines for normal elections yet). I trust the county auditor (in part because she's a Democrat), but I also think that the local Democratic and Republican organizations are active enough that they'll keep a close watch to make sure there are no shinanigans.
posted by dismas 27 October | 13:28
Does anyone else still use the old flip the tabs and pull the giant crank machines?
posted by kellydamnit 27 October | 13:29
We use ES&S machines.
posted by box 27 October | 13:37
How do you guys feel about early voting? Do you trust it?

I don't have any security fears. I trust that regular people who work and volunteer in election offices to be good and decent human beings. I will trust them a million times more than big business that provide digital voting machines.

Most finagling in elections is from dissuading people from voting not from stealing ballots.

How are the different systems registering the ballot intake and recording the vote? Where are the ballots stored between now and Nov. 4?

In Florida there is a paper trail, there is a paper ballot for every vote. They are stored by the supervisor of elections, which is the head of each of the 60-something counties in Florida. Each supervisor is responsible for all parts of the election.

Who has access to them? How and when will they be reported, and by whom?

Every county have different rules and regulations for maintaining, counting, preparing. The idea is that it is impossible to have widespread corruption. They all operate independently. Though it is definitely possible that any one person could do something shady, it is unlikely because the supervisor and their staff work in groups and they work with observers. It's possible that some Obama or McCain supporter could manipulate the system. It is unlikely because these people are smart enough not to allow individuals access to ballots. They do things in groups. Observers form both parties are given designated areas to observe the process. When I early voted there were presumably two observers at my polling place.

Not to be paranoid, and I know many people are enthused about early voting, just wondering how come we are more willing to accept this than digital voting machines - especially because the cast ballots will be sitting around for some time, and I feel that makes them somewhat vulnerable to manipulation.

Digital voting is the worst thing in my opinion. It is sealed. You have no backup. You have no way of knowing what really goes on. You can push whatever you want on the screen and you have no idea what is recorded. All of the hardware and software is propriety to the manufacturer. There is no paper trail if there is a dispute. Part of the appeal of digital is part of its downfall. Because you don't have access you can't hack it. But, you can't know how it works because you don't have access to see how it works. It assures that the only fraud comes from above.
posted by LoriFLA 27 October | 13:44
Does anyone else still use the old flip the tabs and pull the giant crank machines?

We did until two years ago, I loved those things. You really felt like you were doing something when you pulled that big level to register your votes and open the curtain.
posted by octothorpe 27 October | 13:54
I'm not voting until election day for a variety of reasons, but I'm going to bring my 5 month year old son along when I do it. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long, but if we do, it'll be worth it.
posted by drezdn 27 October | 14:09
While I do have reservations about digital machines (which are used in all stages of the election process here in Bexar County, TX, from the primaries to early voting to Election Day), I don't think they are completely hackable black boxes. The election officials record how many voters have physically walked up to each machine, so they know if any machine records more or fewer votes, then there's a problem. The officials also know how many people overall have come in that day. The only risk is from high-level coded fraud - that Diebold or a Diebold employee would intentionally program the machine to affect votes. But that seems pretty easy to test for, to me. I do think that transparency is important (and I hope that some day voting in general is nationalized and regulated by a bipartisan election committee), but I don't see why "organized effort by Diebold to change the election, in a way that would not be detected by mock election testing" is any more likely than ballot-box stuffing or the regular, everyday occurrences of targeted voter disenfranchisement.
posted by muddgirl 27 October | 14:12
I'm waiting until election day. The only time I've ever had to wait in line to vote was during the recall election a few years back. (My polling place was in someone's garage that time. I thought that was incredibly cool.) I'm hoping I have to stand in line for a long-ass time next week.

We use paper ballots and black markers. Licorice-scented black markers.

I love voting on election day.
posted by mudpuppie 27 October | 14:26
There is something nice about going on election day, seeing everyone with their "I VOTED!" stickers, etc.

(also, I have yet to find a single example of an electronic voting machine fucking up in favor of the democrats.)
posted by kellydamnit 27 October | 14:32
Hell yeah. The stickers are really cool. I also think I'll hang around the grocery store or the downtown area or something on Tuesday just to gauge how many people are wearing the stickers.
posted by mudpuppie 27 October | 14:42
The fucking British postal system has failed me again: I mailed my absentee ballot and THEY SENT IT BACK TO ME. Why? I don't know. Maybe the extremely clear, printed envelope that says "BALLOT INSIDE" and has the US address in big block letter confused them. Maybe it was the extra postage and the airmail sticker I carefully placed on the envelope.
posted by Specklet 27 October | 14:53
You still get your "I'm a Georgia Voter!" sticker if you advance vote. I just wish they'd switch them up with each election. I think they've used the same cartoon-y peach stickers here since 2000.
posted by grabbingsand 27 October | 14:57
I got a sticker for early voting! I wore it proudly to the grocery store.
posted by muddgirl 27 October | 15:34
How do you guys feel about early voting? Do you trust it?

I haven't not early voted in as long as I remember. Where I live (Austin, TX) it is made terribly convenient to go to the grocery store and vote. In my county we went to electronic machines years ago and it is allegedly one of the least notoriously insecure company out there.

Some precincts in Austin went close to 80% Kerry last time so I feel pretty good about the county officials being honest.

I voted on Tuesday and there was a 10 minute or so wait which was the longest I've ever had to wait ever. And they had 2x the number of booths as they usually do. I ready that nearly 20% of registered voters in Travis county have already voted.

It doesn't matter since Texas is going to go for McCain/Palin anyway, but Travis county will be that dark blue dot in the middle of Texas on the maps that come out after the election.
posted by birdherder 27 October | 15:38
Is the early voting thing new? I know Oregon has allowed mail-in voting for awhile now.
posted by Eideteker 27 October | 16:15
I voted on Friday. Like box, I'm in Arkansas, but in a different area. We were given the choice between paper ballots and machines.

I was going to wait until Election Day, but one of my coworkers is going to be at the polls, so we were already having to rearrange around him.
posted by lilywing13 27 October | 16:22
Is the early voting thing new? I know Oregon has allowed mail-in voting for awhile now.

It's spreading.
posted by mudpuppie 27 October | 16:26
My plans:

Sunday - survive milestone birthday
Monday - hide under rock
Tuesday - VOTE!
Wednesday - hide under rock, if need be.

Yes, this is my vacation this year.

I need a big rock.
posted by rainbaby 27 October | 18:51
i'm giving myself 'til Wednesday to find any and all paper work that will prevent me from falsely admitting to driving without insurance (because they went out of business) before giving in to higher insurance rates, a stained record, and three digits of money that i had to keep in case of this.
So Jay Z was wrong in my case. If your license or ID expired before November 2006, you can't vote here. Missed it by a hair. Now i wonder if any convicts i know will vote. They don't have to pay or nothing.
posted by ethylene 27 October | 19:36
Oh, except for all those lost registrations. Guess you can't rock the vote, so roll with it.
Mine will probably be on paper, so too bad, digital nuisance.
posted by ethylene 27 October | 19:38
rainbaby, you gotta rock. (click on the small box near the bottom of the larger box)

In California, Absentee Ballots have always been easy to get, easy to fill out (bringing back memories of the 'fill in the circles' multiple choice tests of my youth) and as reliable to get counted as the post office (which is why I send mine in AT LEAST 2 weeks in advance).

I'll post this one more time if anybody wants it, then go on to some other running joke:
≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by wendell 27 October | 19:47
It doesn't matter since Texas is going to go for McCain/Palin anyway,

It ALWAYS matters!

It matters to the mandate. What's the margin? How big? How real is the support - a fluke of electoral voting, or significant?

It matters to the message - how does your state govern itself? Do your representatives understand that there is opposition as well as support for their agenda? Would knowing they are not in a small minority empower other potential voters who are now giving up? What if all of them were encouraged and empowered next time?

It matters to the young - they see that people vote even when they know their candidate won't win, and they understand that it it important nevertheless.

It matters to your municipality - there are other offices on the ballot besides President!

It ALWAYS matters. It breaks my heart when people say their vote doesn't matter.

In 2000, if only 600 more people had voted for Gore, my state would have gone blue. He would have had the electoral votes to offset Florida, and would have been President. I guess 600 people stayed home because of the state's history of going red. In this election, it's looking pretty damn blue. Little by little...

It always matters.
posted by Miko 27 October | 21:23
I'm voting right now!

(I'm also drinking a beer - I love being permanent absentee :)
posted by kodama 27 October | 23:05
I voted a little over a week ago via mail-in ballot. CA doesn't open polling stations early, AFAIK, so my choices are absentee ballot or standing in line for an hour or three on Nov. 4th. Since that day also involves chauffeuring child to/from school, karate and Kumon lessons, plus a parent-teacher conference and my gyn annual, I didn't want to add to the madness by standing in line.

At this point I don't trust absentee ballots or machine voting, which is a sad thing.

My ballot did come with a little "I Voted!" peel off sticker, which I thought was cute.
posted by jamaro 28 October | 01:44
OMIGOD - Who Knew??? || UpDos for Obama