Thursday, November 03, 2016

Does Election Day Mean Anything With So Many People Voting Early?

When I hear polls about the presidential race tightening up, the cynic in me thinks it's a ruse by the media to keep people watching the news.  Or by the parties to get they're people to turn out to vote.  But given that lots of folks have already voted, what exactly do the polls mean any more?  I expect political scientists, statisticians, and politicians will be studying that question a lot.

We left town before early voting was available.  So now that we're back, I went in today.  The line was to the far door when I got there.   This is the only place to vote in Anchorage for now.  There were probably 40 or so folks ahead of me.

Then it turns the corner where another 10 to 15 people (depending on squeezed together they are) are waiting.

When you get around the corner, there were five people checking id's and pulling up a page for me to sign, that had my address and district and ballot number.  I took that over to get a ballot and then went into the booth to vote.

A poll worker came through the line telling us it would be about ten minutes and checking for people with issues.  One guy had moved within Alaska.  There was a woman who had moved to Alaska, and no, she hadn't checked off the 'register to vote' box when she got her Alaska drivers license and with less than a week left to election day, she'd missed the 30 day before the election cut off.  She got a questioned ballot, but it didn't sound like it should count.

In the end it took 23 minutes from start to finish.  The surprise on the ballot was how many judges were up for retention.  In Alaska, judges are appointed through one of the cleanest systems in the country - though Republicans who have a vested interest in their preferred outcomes rather than a fair process based on the law [of course, that's my interpretation not theirs], are trying to get that system changed.  I've written more about the Judicial Council which nominates and grades judges based on surveys of jurors, attorneys, court staff, court watchers, and other interested parties here.

I guess, sure, election day still means something, but I wonder how long we'll be using that term.  Not sure, though, what will replace it.  Voting Period?  Election Weeks?  Voting Crunch Time?

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