Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What I Am Concerned About...

Last weekend, I was talking to my friend Peter and to my sister-in-law Laura, and I opined that I wasn't much worried about the "Bradley" effect. When Peter asked me to assess the confidence points I had behind my pick, I said "14."

Still, nothing is over till it's over. So, in ascending order, here are the things I'm most worried about still.

6) Barack Obama lets slip that he is a Duke fan while speaking in Raleigh tomorrow. (I don't know if he is, but I just hope one of his handlers makes clear how fanatical and illogical UNC fans are.)

5) Frivolous Lawsuits.
Honestly, I think we still don't know who won Florida in 2000. The documentary Hacking Democracy said that Kerry had lawyers in place to challenge results in New Mexico. In both places the democratic candidates chose structural integrity over prolonged or continued legal battles. If John McCain were to lose the election by less than four states, do you really see him doing the same? Neither do I. [Reason this isn't higher is because I don't think he will be close enough to matter and so won't pursue it.]

4) Block the Vote.
Remember that lawsuit last year where Indiana wanted to demand photo identification and the Supreme Court said no? Well, Indiana is (in some polls) back to being a toss up, and now, after the Supreme Court backed the Ohio elections chief in the GOP's attempt to get newly registered voters purged, will Indiana be deterred from asking for the same thing? Of course not.

We all understand that the reason ACORN handed in registration cards that they themselves flagged as fraudulent or suspicious is because they are required to do so by law, right? And we all understand the reason that law is in place is because the Republicans have a long and storied tradition of purging legally registered voters? Hey, it worked in Florida in '00, why not give it another run?

3) Optical Scanners in New Mexico
The film Hacking Democracy demonstrates how easy it is to hack and fix memory cards on Diebold voting machines. According to one witness in the same film, John Kerry noted that every precinct in New Mexico that had optical scanning machines came back for Bush, and he carried the state by a close margin. New Mexico has been in the solid blue camp on most electoral maps for quite some time now...based on polling. I don't trust those Diebold machines, and I find it unfathomable that public elections are cloaked in proprietary secrets from compaines whose CEOs, board members, and runners are often big contributors to the GOP.

2) The weather.
Good turnout is supposed to favor Obama, particularly in states like Georgia where the best chance of a Democratic victory would be a strong turnout by new voters. Most weather reports I've seen predict rain in key battleground states including Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Dems seem to be voting early, but will voter turnout be hurt by the weather?

1) The unexpected
What's new in this election? Massive turnouts. If lines are hours long for early voting, what sorts of turnouts will we have on election day? Historically, enthusiasm in early voting usually crests with enthusiasm for turnout on election day rather than less voters on election day. Will some precinct(s) in key states have machine malfunctions, sufficient paper ballots, run out? Will people in line be turned away? Will lines still be several hours long when precincts close? If so, will people be voting well into the night?


Doug said...

Ken, this is a great list of concerns that I certainly share with you; my overriding concern is voter turnout. No poll will matter one iota if people do not go to the polls and vote. Of course voter purges and secretive e-technology are major problems; the founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.

I especially appreciate your comments on ACORN, which really is being accused of fraud for simply upholding the law. But of course that's only the pretense of their critics--their real sin was daring to register over a million poor and disenfranchised voters.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

at 2a or so, I could also put "The Media." Not in a biased sort of way, but in a "The nature of the media is that after a story arc has run awhile the story has to change" sort of way. When there is no change, we have to dig around for a story, and rather than reporting interesting NEWS (like early voting being way up) why not just parrot talking points to help McCain (and hey, a closer election means bigger ratings). Would be higher, except, I'm not sure how this would or could alter the outcome--and the Dems seem to be on to it, and at least not playing along, hence Biden's totally appropriate "Are you joking" response to the query of whether or not Obama was a socialist.

Doug said...


Amazing--eight to ten hour lines! It's inspiring, but it really shouldn't be happening, and obviously a huge number of workers can't afford to take the day off to vote.

Doug said...

Expect the unexpected: