Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Early Voting Extended In Florida

I just saw a link on Daily Dish to a report that Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist has extended the hours for early voting from 8 hours a day to 12 hours a day!  The report quotes a Republican insider as saying this is a fatal blow their hopes for Florida.  


What does it say about your party when merely extending the time available to vote is seen as biasing the results against you?  

12 comments:

Dr. Strangelove said...

It means Republicans only want "real" Americans to vote. "Real" Americans being those Americans who vote Republican, of course.

I wish that Florida operative were named. That is a very damaging statement.

Pombat said...

Vaguely related - a study on how to "make people vote" that I thought you might find interesting if you hadn't seen it already: link. I wonder if Real Americans (TM) are more nosy than the rest of you? ;-p

Back on topic - how is that such a damaging statement Dr.S? I'm confused...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Pombat: as I read it, the Republican operative from Florida said that Gov. Crist (himself a Republican) had just thrown away McCain's chances of winning Florida when the voting hours there were extended. Under the guise of "fairness" and "tradition" the Republicans have been trying to shorten voting hours and suppress turnout for years. Restricting the hours of voting makes it harder for poor folk and working people to make it to the polls--and this quote is evidence (if any more were needed) that the Republicans have been doing this on purpose.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Nothing look good old peer pressure to get people to vote. Makes you long for the days of a good, old-fashioned shunning :-)

The Law Talking Guy said...

What Crist did was win himself some safety in a state that will vote blue this year.

Pombat said...

Ahhh. I was trying to figure out how it was a damaging statement for the Democrats, hence the confusion. Understand now!

"Fairness" would mean opening the polls up for as long as they can find volunteers for, midnight to midnight if necessary. This is part of why I think that compulsory voting (which I first experienced in Aus) is such a good idea. Not only does it make everyone vote, but it makes the organisation such that everyone can vote. But then I'm of the belief that part of the reason voter turnout is so low in countries like the US (and the UK) is that people find it too inconvenient, especially when combined with their belief that nothing will really change regardless of whether they vote or not. Which is why Obama appeals so much I think - you can really believe that things actually will change.

Mmmmm, Old-Fashioned Shunning...

Raised By Republicans said...

Hi Pombat,

I've recently seen some research by some friends on compulsory voting. It's effects can be complicated. So far, their results seem to suggest that forcing people to vote has different effects than just increasing the turnout rate.

Based on existing research on voting behavior, the reason seems to be that lots of things increase turnout: ease of registration, is the election held on a national holiday, the level of information (about the candidates etc) available to the individual voter, etc etc. Information is particularly interesting here. The existing research shows that people are more likely to vote the more information they have. Also, when the less informed voters do vote (which is less likely but can happen), they are more likely to vote randomly. Indeed, exit polls from the US primaries would suggest something like this is going on here. In many of the early primaries the voters who made their decisions latest split among Obama, Clinton and Edwards almost in even thirds.

So this all means that compulsory voting may just spread the votes around among all the parties. In a multi party system that might mean good things for small parties on the fringes.

The bottom line in these results is that the partisan benefits to the left that compulsory voting is presumed to generate are not so clear.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I think that low voter turnout is also related to the fact that most Americans have to vote at least once a year. This will be my FOURTH election this year (two primaries, a general election, and a municipal election). And the ballot is a million miles long. Seriously, I think we are making about 30 or 40 separate decisions at the polls this year.

If we voted like most of the world does - casting one or two simple ballots every few years - turnout would be higher.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I meant 30 or 40 separate decisions *this election*. Closer to 80 this year.

Pombat said...

Yeah, I know you guys have a crazy amount of decisions to make, but I don't think that can be included in the reasons for low turnout - the UK has quick & simple voting, and they don't have dazzling high turnout either.

The fact that you have so many elections I can believe as a factor though. Could this be altered somehow d'you think - simplify the processes so that you don't have so many elections?

Raised By Republicans said...

Switzerland has notoriously low turnout too.

Although I have no research to back this up, I've always thought that low turnout in the US was largely due to a general satisfaction with the status quo. Turnout in 2004, 2006 and this year all showed sharp increases. I think that's related to the rising dissatisfaction with the way things are going.

Pombat said...

So rather than simplify the process, the way to encourage people to vote is to just compulsorily 'elect' Bush in random places around the country each election then? ;-p