Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Big News On Election Day: There's No Big News!

As we were preparing for this blog, we prepped dozens of grassroots organizations around the country to pounce on stories of overwhelmed and malfunctioning polling places or outrageous voter suppression. And to be sure, we've heard some disconcerting tales --- from a repeat immigration raid timed for Election Day in Postville, Iowa, to riot police preparing to take the streets in Toledo, Ohio.

But it seems to us, the overwhelming story this election is that while voter turnout appears to be on track for a record high --- thanks in no small part to the work of community organizations across the country turning out voters, including the ones on this blog --- democracy has survived mostly unscathed and the election appears to be going smoothly.

The media and blogosphere seems to be exaggerating every report of the slightest problem, and while I don't mean to suggest any reports of wrongdoing and suppression should be ignored, it does seem that at the end of the day, we will be able to celebrate the day that our democracy was tested by overwhelming enthusiasm and came out the other end having proved itself durable.

Am I wrong?


Anonymous said...

It seems that way....

But we should put this in context. There is a pretty large movement to protect the vote and the rights of voters. This is fall out from the last two elections. Changes made in different areas to avoid election day failure (as we have seen in the past) is the result of agitation by residents and organizations.

Today was light in Miami because we had two weeks of early voting with extended hours. There has been a lot of scrutiny in Florida on voting machines and process over the past 8 years. Some of this comes from the press, most of it is motivated by civic action.

There still are a bunch of dirty tricks going on (robo calls about polls closing early,etc.)

But yes, in talking with reporters they were discouraged by not having a bunch of news (conflict) to report, but no one could say that having a fairly smooth voting process down here was a bad thing.

-Joseph Phelan

Sean said...

You're totally right Joseph. As my conversation with Joe Szakos, from VOP, revealed (see below, posted around 6:40) ... things went smoothly because of smart and strategic organizing that anticipated likely problems.

Sean said...

And, here's the view from Launce Rake from the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada ...

The mainstream media - and this seems to be backed up by anecdotal reports from our many, many friends in the field - are reporting that things are going smoothly thus far at polling places. There are some lines, but apparently our huge early-voting turnout reduced pressure on the regular, Election Day polls.