Weatherman needed

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
— Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (*)

Anyone who knows which way the wind is blowing in this election, please raise your hand and keep it raised so we can write your names down.

We start with this story, which shows that the voters appear to be firmly ambivalent about who they may vote for. They fear Iraq, but they don’t want the US to go it alone. They think Republicans are better on the terrorism issue, but a sizeable majority thinks that the Democrats should be in control of Congress. No help there.

Will Vehrs goes by Professor Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. There’s still cloudiness in the Ball, but as things stand today only governorships would likely undergo a big partisan change (the range is +1 GOP to +7 Democrat).

Avedon points to this article which wonders just how is it that Bush is so popular. Seems there’s a fair number of people in the heartland who don’t think much of him. This is anecdotal evidence, of course, but it’s not the only place I’ve heard such anecdotes.

Even at the local level here, no one knows what will happen. That may be good news if you’re a Democrat in a GOP-dominated county as I am, but the news is never all good. Both the GOP and the Democrats are worried about straight-ticket voting, according to John Williams. The GOP has greatly benefitted from straight-ticket voting here lately, but new they fear that crossover votes for John Sharp may cause people to vote the old-fashioned way. This in turn may cost them votes in down-ballot elections, which in turn may help unseat a GOP judge or two.

(They’re also worried about the Tony Sanchez effect, which makes me feel better.)

The Dems are worried that the eSlate voting machines may confuse people who want to vote straight Dem:

Here’s why: The eSlate system presents two options for straight-ticket voting.

One option allows the voter to cast a straight ticket, then review the ballot on the eSlate screen a page at a time.

When a voter completes the entire ballot, the eSlate presents a summary for review.

The potential for confusion arises, [Harris County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue] Schechter says, because there are about 25 races on the county ballot in which no Democrat is running. Democratic straight-ticket voters will see the phrase “no selection” rather than “no candidate” on the summary for those races.

When that happens, Schechter worries some Democrats will think they should have made a selection. As they work their way through the problem, voting in Democratic precincts could get stacked up, causing some to abandon the polls without voting.

Virtually every race has a Republican candidate, so the potential problem would affect Democratic voters disproportionately, Schechter says.

So she may encourage Democrats to use the other method of straight-party voting allowed by the machine. They would cast a single straight-party vote, then go directly to the machine’s “cast ballot” button to complete the process.

But voters who do that won’t make a choice on nonpartisan ballot items, notably the Houston Independent School District’s $808.6 million bond issue.

I’ve already expressed my concerns about the eSlate machines. I just hope that they work like they claim they will and that we don’t have people coming down with Palm Beach Voter Syndrome. Worry, worry, worry…

(*) With a tip of the cap to Fritz Schranck, who probably would’ve gotten the lyrical reference without any extra help.

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One Response to Weatherman needed

  1. david contreras says:

    Hello I have a question about the e slate. My dad is running for judge and I�m telling people to vote straight democrat. Some people are telling me that after they click straight democrat they also click enter on my dad�s name. Will a pop up come up and tell the voter there about to unclick my dad�s name�. I am very worried that people are doing that. Please get back with me ASAP!! Thank you!! David Omar Contreras

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