Elections

eVote And Vote Often

Apparently, the Sequoia Touch Screen Voting Machines have a little yellow button which, if pressed, allows you to vote more than once.

"Just push the yellow button and you can vote as many times as you want," Tom Courbat, an Election Integrity advocate from Riverside County, California informed The BRAD BLOG tonight. Not that we're in any mood to report more such stories, but this seems to be a big one. A very big one.

It seems there's a little yellow button on the back of every touch-screen computer made by Sequoia Voting Systems, that allows any voter, or poll worker, or precinct inspector to set the system into "Manual Mode" allowing them to cast as many votes as they want.

Will Efforts To Suppress Voter Turn Out Work For The GOP?

According to a new report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Century Foundation, and Common Cause, there are more efforts underway to keep voters away from the polls on election day.

Some states have enacted criminal penalties and/or fines for submitting voter registrations that violate rules that are deliberately complicated. In Florida, any third party organization that submits registrations late is subject to fines. In Ohio, any technical violation of their registration laws is considered a felony.

Further ID restrictions are being added including the requirement to have photo identification (likely to alienate the poor who cannot afford cars and therefore do not have driver's licenses.) In the past, having your signature match your registration, or showing a utility bill used to suffice.

Arizona now requires proof of citizenship to vote. This led to 70% of registrations being rejected during a two-month period in Phoenix. Ohioans who suffered long waits because of an uneven distribution of voting machines can take heart that plans to remedy the situation will take effect in 2013.

2006 Election Update: One Week To Go

First, an update on the combined forecasting. This time, I have included projections from the N.Y. Times Interactive Election Guide as well as Electoral-Vote.com and CQPolitics.com.

House: D-224, R-211
Senate: R-50, D-50

Early Voting Reveals Problems With Machines In Florida

Well, it didn't take long for the first reports of problems with electronic machines. This time, it's in Broward County, Florida.

Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen -- the final voting step.

Of course, it will be impossible to know how many people confirmed the results on the final screen without realizing they were incorrect.

Cognitive Dissonance And The 2006 Election

Cognitive dissonance describes the tension that arises from holding two apparently conflicting thoughts at the same time. It is believed that people who face this dilemma to either seek out or fabricate thoughts that bring the two conflicting thoughts closer.

A classic example of cognitive dissonance can be found in people's attitudes toward Congress. In an Oct 13-16th NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 16% of Americans approve of Congress' job while 75% disapprove. Of the same people surveyed, 37% believe Republicans should retain control of Congress.

So, what that must mean, is that as much as 21% of respondents disapprove of the work Congress is doing but believe they should keep on doing it.

How does one make sense of such conflicting thoughts? Let's look at the issues that would keep someone desiring Republican control of a failed institution over Democratic control. The two biggest campaign issues I've heard are taxes and defense (presently the 'war on terror').

Foley Investigation Interviews Over But No Report Until After Election

The House committee charged with investigating the Foley scandal has told all witnesses that they will not be called back, a clear sign that they have wrapped up their investigation.

However, there are no plans to release anything until after the November 7th elections.

Some big names have testified before the committee, and there can be no mistake that many political fortunes may turn on such a report. It can be no surprise then that despite a commitment to finish the investigation in "weeks, not months", the report will not be released in time to influence the election.

Negative Ads Account for 90% of NRCC Ad Budget

If you believe in the sentiment that desperate times call for desperate methods, you'll find company with the National Republican Congressional Committee, an organization whose purpose is to fight the national fight to keep Republicans in control of the house. Their strategy, in part, this year involves spending 90% of their advertising budget on negative, attack ads.

To say that the ads stretch the truth doesn't begin to do justice to what's going on. Consider this example:

In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. "Hi, sexy," a dancing woman purrs. "You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line." It turns out that one of Arcuri's aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

If you think that's bad, try these from the Republican National Committee (RNC):

2006 Election: What Will The Undecided Voters Do

Just 13 days 'til the election. Let me start with a forecast updating projections from here and here. Averaging together the tracking from electoral-vote.com and cqpolitics.com congress should look like this after the election:

House: D-224, R-211
Senate: R-50, D-50

One curiosity about the polling bothers me, however; and that is the significant undecided percentages. Some of the closest races, as tracked by electoral-vote.com, have undecided voters in excess of the margin associated with them:

2006 Election Update

Trending in polls continues to look strong for Democrats, but will it be strong enough to take control of either house? Previously, I took a look at the tracking of Electoral Vote and CQ Politics and spoke a bit about their methodology. Taking an average of their tracking, I forecasted the following outcome then:

House: R-221, D-214
Senate: R-51, D-49

Taking the same averages today, the results are a little different, but probably still nothing to bank on:

House: D-222, R-213
Senate: R-50, D-50

So, is the Democratic strategy of tying republicans to a failed Iraq policy working? Let's look a little deeper:

A Tale Of Two Forecasts

For anyone following the coming elections, decent projections of the outcome can be hard to come by. Personally, I look for projections that let me know what the projected make-up of congress will ultimately look like. To that end, I keep my eyes on two sites: electoral-vote.com and cqpolitics.com.

Electoral-vote.com builds their ratings of district results based on poling trends. As it stands today (10/4/2006), they are showing nearly a tie in both chambers.

Cqpolitics.com compiles their ratings in an undisclosed manner that seems to take into account some poling, historical trends and current events. As of today, they show republicans with a 15 seat majority in the house, 5 seat majority in the senate, and 4 state deficit in governor races. They do have some seats in each race they believe have no clear favorite so they don't attribute them to either party; they are: 12, 7, and 8 respectively.

House Republicans Assert Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Disputed House Races

Here's the deal: Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution states "Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members..." Now, lawyers in disputed elections in California and Nevada have successfully argued that this clause prohibits local monitoring of house elections.

In the case of the disputed CA-50 special election, Dennis Hastert rushed to get the republican candidate, Brian Bilbray, sworn in just five days after the election, before any motions questioning the election could be acted upon. It has been suggested that this was done to ensure that Bilbray would be one "of its own members" when the jurisdictional argument was put forth.

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