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David Gergen Is Wrong About Early Voting Being Light

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On a late show on CNN Thursday, David Gergen casually suggests that early voting has been light and hearts sink. Is he right? Here is a survey of available information, rounding up what can be known of early voting with 12 days to go until November 4.

Gergen is wrong. In most places the voting has been heavy. There are many other issues like long lines, the heckling of African Americans in North Carolina voting venues SOURCE, the fear of voters in heavily red areas to even display Obama signs or buttons and a litany of material regarding flipping of ballots from Dem to Repub or vica versa in more than one state.

And here's an excellent page which suggests in more than one post that Republicans are getting some serious blowback on their efforts to suppress votes. SOURCE

Gergen may have been referring to a October 7 CNN report on Ohio. This is about the only indication of light early voting (check "light early voting" on Google to confirm) and there may well be Ohio-specific reasons for this.

Google results on heavy early voting reference a broad range of information that contradicts Gergen, including the following headlines. SOURCE

GOP turnout lagging in heavy N. Carolina early voting
Houston turnout heavy as early voting begins
New poll shows early voting heavy & heavily for Obama
GOP turnout lagging in heavy N. Carolina early voting
Thursday's first day of early voting drew record numbers across North Carolina
Early Voting To Proceed in Minority-Heavy Indiana Cities
Alabama: early voting heavy in two Mardi Gras counties
HeraldNet: Heavy early voting has some states scrambling
Unprecedented numbers of early voters in Florida and other Southern states
Arkansas News Bureau - Turnout heavy on first day of early voting

Gergen is not right about voting being light in Texas. "As of 1 p.m., Harris County early voting totals had already surpassed the first-day total in 2004 of 20,868, according to the County Clerk's office." SOURCE

The best account I have been able to find that surveys the entire subject was published today. SOURCE

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has an edge in six of eight states that provide early-voting data by party registration, as Democrats, blacks and first-time voters cast ballots in unprecedented numbers.

In North Carolina and Louisiana, which voted Republican in the last two elections, Democrats outnumber Republicans in early voting so far by a 2-to-1 margin. In Iowa, Obama's party accounted for 52 percent of early voters, compared with 28 percent for Republicans.

[...]

In Florida, at this time four years ago, Republicans were 52.4 percent of early and absentee voters, while Democrats were 36 percent. Today, they are tied, with about 43 percent of early and mail-in votes cast by Republicans and about 42 percent cast by Democrats, state figures show.

Moving on, Gergen appears to be wrong regarding New Mexico: "Turnout was heavy at polling sites in Santa Fe and Albuquerque as early voting started Saturday. In fact, waiting times were so long at a south-side Santa Fe location that some people who wanted to cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 4 election gave up and left." SOURCE

The fact is that we do not have any final tallies and will not have them until this election is over. But the anecdotal evidence so far indicates that there is enthusiastic response to the Obama push for early voting. And that such lightness has has existed was in Ohio where one may have to go through both hell and high water to vote, now or on November 4.

ADDENDA:

Here is a collection of early voting posts on TrueVote.US: SOURCE

A CNN survey indicates that some 31 states have provision for no-excuse-needed early voting. In almost all reported cases, the indication is that interest is high, voters patient in line and therefore that the turnout is hardly light. SOURCE

Here is Google's MASTER MAP from whence you can get information on voting anywhere.

Touch Screen Uncertainty In Tennessee SOURCE

A poll worker directed me to a touch screen voting machine and instructed me how to use it. I touched "Obama" for president and nothing lit up. I touched 2 or 3 more times and still nothing lit up. I called the poll worker back over to tell him I was having a problem. He said I just needed to touch it more lightly. I tried it 2 or 3 more times more lightly with the poll worker watching & still nothing lit up. The poll worker then touched it for me twice - nothing lit up. The third time he touched the Obama button, the Cynthia McKinney space lit up. The McKinney button was located five rows below the Obama button. The poll worker just kind of laughed and cancelled the vote. He hit the Obama button again and it finally lit up. I continued on to cast the rest of my votes. After completing the process and reviewing my votes, I went to the Vote page, hit the Vote button and nothing happened. Again after several tries, I called the poll worker over and he finally got the machine to register my votes. . . I left the polling place feeling uncertain.

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