Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Diary Of A Poll Checker

My brother Kyle is poll checking in the 2nd Congressional District of Maine. Maine has a partial Electoral Vote system whereby the overall winner in the state automatically gets 2 Electoral Votes, then the winner of each of the 2 Congressional Districts is awarded 1 EV (for a total of 4). The 2nd CD is more rural and Bush almost won it in 2000 and while polling has Kerry up there, it looks like it's going to be tight this year as well.

Kyle is standing in a polling location in a small town in the 2nd CD with a list of people whom the DNC has identified as likely Kerry voters. So whenever any person votes, the person who crosses the voter off the voter rolls yells out the person's name and Kyle cross checks it with his list. If the person is on his list, he crosses it off and, every half hour, someone comes by to gather Kyle's tally. This is to identify those that have already voted so they can stop calling them to urge them to vote and also to gauge Kerry's support. There has not been any challenge yet but there was some confusion where a voter needed to fill out a provisional ballot to be counted later. He informed me that if there is a challenge, all voting must stop until the issue is resolved. I don't know if that's the law in all states, but it seems prime for abuse, if a partisan challenger wishes to hold up the line so that people leave without voting.

As of 1:30pm local time, about half the people in the tiny town had voted, which seemed exceptional to him.


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