by Natasha Chart, Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:51:43 AM EDT
It's too late to change ballot designs, change voting machines, any of that. Also, elections have standard error rates that are commonly 1-3%, where ballots are spoiled, lost, etc.
It's also been much discussed that even if a canvasser tries to get paid for signing up people who don't exist, those nonexistent people don't show up to vote, and the worse crime is that plenty of people are outright prevented from voting in the first place.
There will be a time, I hope, when problems like these can be corrected. When we can insist on standard, nation-wide balloting with a full paper trail. But that wasn't going to happen while Bush was in office and it's going to be a hard slog even with Democrats in power.
So here are a few things people may want to keep an eye out for, given that there are glitches in the system:
-- The Election Protection Wiki is a publicly editable, collaborative effort to keep track of how the election is going and to identify any problems. If you learn of any problems, you can report them here.
--Mother Jones has compiled its own state-by-state report on known election issues.
-- North Carolinians are having problems with a ballot that allows straight party line voting ... except for the presidential race. That's an extra box to check and a lot of people don't. It's also a problem that's plagued previous NC elections and that no one's cared enough to fix.
-- What do Republicans who aren't Charlie Crist do for fun come election time? Purge voters and discard ballots.
-- Or, they may send the politicized Justice Department to prosecute groundless claims of vote fraud in order to depress turnout.
-- Or, they may lie to Virginians about when election day is, and suggest that Democrats can wait until November 5th to vote. Which is ridiculous. Who ever heard of holding a US election on a Wednesday?
-- Bipartisanly suspect e-voting machines have flipped votes in three states, affecting both Democrats and Republicans, and even the New York Times is now saying that paper ballots need to be the standard. Check out these videos from West Virginia for more.
--Verify your registration, or you might end up voting on a provisional 'ballot'.
-- If you live in Florida, don't give your ballot to a stranger just because they knocked on your door and asked for it. Not even if they give you candy.
-- If you live in Pennsylvania, be aware that unpaid parking tickets have nothing to do with your right to vote and the police don't cage polling places looking to arrest people who forgot to move their car on street cleaning day. And, based on past, similar fliers I've read about in past elections, outstanding bills also have nothing to do with voting rights. Neither the landlord nor the repo man get to interfere with whether you can vote.
Though even with all these problems, even with opponents who literally lie, cheat and steal, even with dodgy equipment, we can still win. It will mean that the election can't be close enough for there to be a question. It means everybody who can contribute, contributes. It means everybody votes who can vote. Everybody volunteers who can volunteer.
We will turn out this vote. We will elect people who'll listen when we tell them that we need better election laws. We can bury the efforts of these two-bit weasel-humping punks in an avalanche of legitimate votes.
So let's do this thing. You coming?
"Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win." Robert Heinlein