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Merry Election Day!

November 7, 2006

After being sick all weekend with post-flu-shot symptoms, nothing makes a person feel more healthy and alive than democracy inaction.

Casey and Rendell ready for election (AP)No, unfortunately, that’s not a typo.

Despite the fact estimate that only a third of the American electorate will participate in today’s mid-term elections, there’s lots of media buzz surrounding tonight’s results, that will ultimately give the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, the Pa. House and Senate, your local city council, zoning board, elections board, dogcatcher, post office, grocery store and so on.

OK, maybe not THAT much control. But if you’ve been reading the major news magazines or listening to “mainstream media” (or as the blogosphere likes to call it, MSM), you’d think the election was over already with the Democrats popping champagne corks.

Romenesko‘s blog on Poynter.org, known for its criticism of the media industry, points to a CNN transcript from Howard Kurtz’s show “Reliable Sources,” which he takes issue with a recent headline in the Washington Post.

From Romenesko:

Howard Kurtz mentioned his paper’s Sunday headline, “Democrats on the Offensive, Could Gain Both Houses,” and asked Jill Zuckman if media coverage has been tilting too much toward predicting a Dem victory. “Well, I think that headline is, like, one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time,” said the Chicago Tribune reporter. “And I feel badly for the people who wrote the story, because I don’t think they wrote that headline, and I don’t think they would have signed off on something like that. Because it goes way too far and, honestly, we don’t really know what’s going to happen on Election Day.”

Remember folks, it’s not over until it’s over. So get out and pull the lever/check the box/touch the screen for your candidate. You have until 8 p.m. EST in Pa. to get to the polls. Here’s where to find your local polling spot.

Here’s some more good Election Day links:

  • Democrats, you DO NOT vote tomorrow, despite the urban legend.
  • I’m not sure it exactly fits the political mold, but Weird Al Yankovic’s “Weasel-Stomping Day” (CAUTION: link is PG-13) song seems like a decent anti-corruption, “remember the pay raise” anti-incumbent anthem for today’s elections.
  • Great parody from Saturday Night Live (clip below) on the GOP election worries, especially the LOL line about a Nevada congressman being the “TCBY Strangler.” Luckily, it never got THIS bad for the Republicans.
  • Electronic voting machines are under fire this election, and will no doubt be the subject of many post-election “stole the vote” stories. Here’s a link to a Fox News video from a team of Princeton college students who showed how easy it is to skew the vote on these machines in September.
  • I’m glad to see this non-partisan group, called Video the Vote, doing some citizen journalism. They are asking citizens to use personal video cameras to document the election at local polling places, looking for unfairness or irregularities. It’ll be interesting to see how these cameramen depict polling places around the country, especially with the extensive guidelines these volunteers are working with. Here are some of the things they are looking for:
    • Watch how long the lines are. How long does it take someone to vote? If it’s a long wait, why? Are there enough machines for the number of voters? Have any broken down? If the lines are non-existent, we should see that, too.
      See if everyone gets to vote. Are voters turned away or asked to vote with a provisional ballot? Are potential voters or poll workers unclear as to which ID is acceptable?
      Watch for intimidation. Are potential voters being turned away by poll challengers? Does the poll challenging seem excessive or targeted towards specific voters? Is there police presence at polling places?
      Watch for accessibility. Are the polls open for the hours they are supposed to be? Do they open on time or close early?
      Watch for misinformation. Are people re-directed to another polling place after they were originally informed to come to this one? Are voters asked to pass a test, produce multiple identification, or justify their vote?
      Is the polling place running smoothly? Hopefully, yes! Shooting some of our democracy functioning ably is fine, we want to report a complete picture of election day. Though you may be moved to cover any problems so they can still be corrected on Election Day.

    • Love politics, but wary of talking about it at the water cooler at your workplace? Unless you work in a newsroom like me, politics is one of those dangerous topics to bring up (religion and the latest Battlestar Galactica episode being the others.) Here’s some workplace hints from Geoff Williams of Entrepreneur.com.
    • Santorum meets the voters (Reuters)Just who should I vote for again? Here’s a quick glance at the final poll numbers, and some last-minute persuasion from the state’s top candidates: For Governor: Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann … For Senate: Rick Santorum and Bob Casey.
    • Do you think you’re a closet liberal or conservative? Find out with the Political Compass, which charts your political and social leanings on a grid. The results can be surprising.
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