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February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday: Beginning of the End (of Voting)

Polls will start closing on the east coast in just under two hours. It was Pat Buchanan's point on the Sean Hannity Show that west-coasters need to be wary of listening to the media report the results from the east coast. He sounded worried that if voters--in California especially--hear that McCain is sweeping the east coast, they may not bother voting. That sounds reasonable.

It is also something that we, Moron Nation, should keep in mind as the results start to come in. McCain is expected to do well in New Jersey and Connecticut. We've already heard about the shenanigans in West Virginia. Georgia is supposed to be a close race, which means that a McCain win there will be trumpeted to high heaven by legacy media commentators.

California morons, don't let that stop you from voting. Those who are just commenting, don't forget: California has as many delegates in play as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Georgia combined (although the proportional vote mitigates that voting power).

L.A. County Voting Problems? Drudge Report and local radio have been saying that some L.A. county polling places are having trouble with voting machines not working. Also, several polling places did not open on time this morning.

Voting in California will be problematic for a few reasons. Most of the state's electronic voting machines were decertified last year and replaced with older optical-scan paper ballots, which must be manual fed into the scanning machines to be counted. First-time voters are being required to show ID before they are allowed to vote, which is causing some outcry among Democratic voters who seem convinced that they have the right to refuse to show ID. Finally, independent voters in California are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary, but not in the Republican primary. This may be causing some problems for McCain supporters.

More: There is a possibility, depending on how close the races are, that California will not be able to announce the winners until Wednesday. From the San Jose Mercury News:

— Late-arriving absentee ballots will be tallied only after the precinct ballots are counted, and then only after a painstaking verification process. The sheer number of late-arriving ballots could leave registrars unable to call races until Wednesday, or later.

— A switch back to paper ballots has forced four of California's most populous counties—Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Santa Clara—to count ballots centrally, often with too few high-speed scanning machines to tally the votes rapidly. Los Angeles and Sacramento also will haul their ballots back to a single location.

— A lack of optical scanning machines at individual polling places means precinct workers will not be able to catch errors made by voters and have them correct their ballots. Any ballots that are incorrectly filled out will have to be reviewed, and in some cases hand-copied, at central counting locations.

Congratulations, Thompson Voters You deserve medals, each and every one of you. You might as well have filled out a ballot for Mickey Mouse. And you just lost the right to complain about the eventual Republican nominee.

The only excuse for that is if you filled out an absentee ballot before Thompson dropped out of the race.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:14 PM

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