Tag Archives: early voting

Georgia’s Secretary of State Karen Handel Promotes Voter Challenges and Refuses to Extend Early Voting Hours

Karen Handel was elected in November 2006 and sworn into office on January 8, 2007, as Georgia’s first Republican Secretary of State. One of Secretary Handels duties include overseeing elections.

Georgia’s first Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel was elected in November 2006 and sworn into office on January 8, 2007. One of Secretary Handel's duties include overseeing elections.

TPM Muckraker has reported disturbing attempts by Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel to suppress Democratic votes by her refusal to extend polling hours during the early voting period, although she could have requested the Department of Justice grant an emergency extension.  Other means Ms. Handel is using to supress votes was to ‘remind’ Georgian citizens this past Wednesday they can actively “challenge” a voter’s qualifications at polling places, therby requiring that voter to cast a “challenged” ballot and  appear before the election board to prove citizenship.

Add Georgia to the list of states where Republican officials are actively engaged in voter suppression efforts.

In the midst of a record turnout for early voting in Georgia, that has led to long lines, discouraged voters and exhausted poll workers, Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican, has claimed federal law ties her hands, preventing her from extending early voting hours.

With just days to go to the election, Democratic politicians demanded yesterday that Handel step in and extend early voting hours — as has been done in both North Carolina and Florida.

But in an opinion piece published in the AJC on Thursday, Handel blamed her inaction on the issue on federal law which requires Justice Department approval to change voting law.

Ironically, it is Georgia’s history of discriminatory voting practices that puts it on a federal “pre-clearance” list, mentioned in Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act of 1965.

While the DOJ can take up to 60 days to review any change that is submitted, it has the power to grant expedited review in emergency situations — and Georgia’s situation would certainly seem to qualify, Gerry Hebert, a former acting head of DOJ’s voting-rights section, told TPMmuckraker.

“Georgia has asked and been granted expedited review by the DOJ in the past, so to say because of the voting act, we can’t do this — that’s not really accurate,” Hebert said. “The DOJ has done this in as little as 24 hours. . . so to use Section 5 as an excuse that this isn’t possible, that’s someone that really doesn’t want to make the change.”

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat, issued a statement yesterday that he was writing Attorney General Michael Mukasey urging him to grant expedited review, when — or if — it was asked for by Handel.

This isn’t Handel’s first brush with voter suppression charges. Early last month, voter rights groups brought a suit against Handel after she threatened to purge over 4,500 voters from the rolls because their citizenship had been questioned.

This Tuesday, a panel of federal judges said the 4,500 plus flagged voters must be given ballots — and that Handel must “make diligent and immediate efforts” to inform those voters that had been challenged.

In compliance with the decision, Handel sent out letters to flagged voters yesterday, telling them they could still vote on election day but with a “challenged” paper ballot.

Handel, however, has reacted to the judges’ decision by turning to ordinary Georgians to continue her voter suppression campaign by proxy.

As first noted by the blog, Facing South, in an interview Wednesday with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Handel took pains to remind voters that any voter can challenge another’s qualifications to cast a ballot by notifying a precinct poll manager. According to Handel, that voter then would be given a challenge ballot and would have to go before the election board.

Georgia’s Secretary of State Promotes Voter Challenges and Refuses to Extend Early Voting Hours

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2008 Early Voting Statistics by States

Early Voting Statistics by States*

State Mainpage Early Voting Stats 2008 Total Early Vote Selected
Stats
2008 Early Vote / 2004 Total Vote 2004 Total Votes Cast 2004
% Early
(Ass.Press)
Last Updated
United States  
23,438,889
  19.0% 123,535,883 22.5%  
Alabama         1,890,317 3.5%  
Alaska         314,502 21.4%  
Arizona         2,038,069 40.8%  
Scottsdale City html 31,562   28.8% 109,469   10/24
Arkansas   340,964
Ballot  
Absentee 7.7%
In-Person 92.3%
31.8% 1,070,573 33.4% 10/31
California
(58 of 58 counties reporting, thnx to Joe Holland)
  3,293,617   25.8% 12,589,367 33.2% 10/24-11/1
Colorado html 1,477,836
Party  
Dem 37.7%
Rep 35.9%
No/Oth 26.4%
Ballot  
Absentee 75.3%
In-person 24.7%
68.8% 2,148,036 47.9% 10/31
(Party
stats
current through 10/30)
Connecticut         1,607,808 8.9%  
Delaware         377,407 4.9%  
District of Columbia         230,105 8.1%  
Florida^
(in-person & absentee returned)
html Election Code 9250 3,787,414
  2008 2004
Party    
Dem 45.6% 40.7%
Rep 37.8% 43.5%
No/Oth 16.6% 15.8%
Ballot    
Absentee 39.4%  
In-person 60.6%  
46.9% 7,640,319 36.1% 11/1
Georgia html
1,994,990
Race  
White 60.2%
Black 35.1%
Other/Unk 2.2%
Sex  
Men 40.4%
Women 56.2%
Unk 0.9%
Ballot  
Absentee 11.1%
In-person 88.9%
60.1% 3,317,336 20.2% 11/1
Hawaii         431,662 31.0%  
Idaho         612,786 15.9%  
Illinois         5,350,493 5.6%  
Champaign Cnty html 7,685   9.1% 84,153 4.9% 10/30
Cook Cnty html 226,090   22.1% 1,024,876   10/31
Chicago City html 260,703   24.7% 1,056,830   10/30
Indiana html 455,035   18.1% 2,512,142 10.4% 10/30
Marion Cnty   57,249 In-person only 19.3% 296,243 8.0% 10/31
Iowa   454,274
Party  
Dem 47.3%
 
Rep 28.8%
No/Oth 23.9%
29.8% 1,521,966 30.8% 10/31
Kansas         1,213,108 20.4%  
Johnson Cnty html 109,190   42.1% 259,599 37.8% 10/30
Kentucky         1,816,867 5.4%  
Louisiana html 266,880
Party  
Dem 58.5%
Rep 28.4%
No/Oth 13.1%
Race  
White 60.8%
Black 36.3%
Other 2.9%
Sex  
Men 43.5%
Women 56.5%
Ballot  
Absentee 5.1%
In-Person 94.9%
13.6% 1,956,590 6.5% 10/29
(In-person early voting period ended 10/28)
Maine html 163,981
Party  
Dem 42.9%
Rep 28.2%
No/Oth 28.9%
21.8% 751,519 21.4% 10/31
Maryland         2,395,791 5.8%  
Massachusetts         2,927,455 6.0%  
Michigan         4,875,692 17.9%  
Minnesota         2,842,912 8.2%  
Mississippi         1,152,365 6.1%  
Missouri         2,764,635 7.6%  
Montana   184,632   40.5% 456,096 21.7% 10/29
Nebraska   147,992   18.7% 792,906 13.9% 10/30
Nevada# html 500,339   60.2% 831,563 53.1% 10/30
Clark Cnty html 347,491
Party  
Dem 52.5%
Rep 30.4%
No/Oth 17.2%
63.5% 546,858 59.4% 10/30
Washoe Cnty html 90,638
Party  
Dem 47.8%
Rep 35.0%
No/Oth 17.2%
56.8% 159,511 33.0% 10/30
New Hampshire         683,672 9.0%  
New Jersey         3,638,153 5.4%  
New Mexico         775,301 50.6%  
Bernalillo Cnty html 162,452
Party  
Dem 53.4%
Rep 32.9%
No/Oth 13.7%
Ballot  
Absentee 37.6%
In-person 62.4%
61.9% 262,617   10/30
New York         7,448,266 5.1%  
North Carolina zip 2,350,712
  2008 2004
Party    
Dem 51.8% 48.6%
Rep 30.0% 37.4%
None 18.2% 14.1%
Age    
18-29 13.9%  
30-44 22.7%  
45-64 40.7%  
65+ 22.7%  
Race    
White 69.5%  
Black 26.3%  
Other 4.1%  
Sex    
Men 42.7% 42.9%
Women 56.4% 56.6%
Unk 0.2% 0.4%
Ballot    
Absentee 8.0% 13.1%
One-Stop 92.0% 86.9%
66.2% 3,552,449 30.8% 11/1 5:26am
North Dakota         316,049 17.8%  
Ohio*         5,722,443 10.7%  
Champaign Cnty html 3,666   19.2% 19,080 8.4% 10/31
Cuyahoga Cnty Pdf 228,003
Ballot  
Absentee 81.0%
In-person 19.0%
33.2% 687,255 12.4% 10/31
Franklin Cnty html 178,260   33.4% 533,575 8.8% 10/30
Gallia Cnty html 2,168   15.1% 14,391 11.1% 10/28
Greene Cnty html 5,736   7.1% 80,602 10.5% 10/28
Knox Cnty html 7,336   26.9% 27,302 13.2% 10/30
Montgomery Cnty html 50,577   17.6% 287,635 10.2% 10/30
Muskingum Cnty html 6,629   16.8% 39,565 12.6% 10/28
Ross Cnty html 8,086   25.3% 31,979 12.3% 10/30
Seneca Cnty html 4,156   15.1% 27,607 10.8% 10/30
Summit Cnty html 73,920   26.2% 281,735 10.1% 10/31
Tuscarawas Cnty html 9,339   21.3% 43,760 11.1% 10/31
Union Cnty html 3,324   14.5% 22,911 7.7% 10/28
Oklahoma         1,463,758 10.1%  
Oregon Pdf 931,310   50.3% 1,851,671 100.0% 10/30
Pennsylvania         5,769,590 5.5%  
Rhode Island         440,228 4.4%  
South Carolina         1,626,720 9.5%  
South Dakota         394,930 24.0%  
Tennessee Pdf 1,550,939   63.1% 2,456,610 47.3% 10/30
(Early voting ended 10/30)
Texas
(15 largest counties)
html 3,117,005
Ballot  
Absentee 6.4%
In-person 93.6%
42.1% 7,410,765 51.1% 10/30
Utah         942,010 7.2%  
Vermont         314,220 19.1%  
Virginia         3,223,156 7.0%  
Fairfax Cnty   78,425   17.0% 426,126 10.5% 10/30
Washington         2,883,499 68.2%  
Clark Cnty html 106,053   61.6% 172,277 62.8% 10/31
King Cnty html 316,995   35.3% 899,199 62.8% 10/31
Pierce Cnty Pdf 125,330   39.5% 317,012 80.3% 10/31
Snohomish Cnty Pdf 126,709   42.6% 297,187 65.3% 10/30
Spokane Cnty Pdf 132,172   64.8% 203,886 64.3% 10/31
Whatcom Cnty html 60,165   65.7% 91,515 72.8% 10/31
West Virginia   96,239
Party  
Dem 59.4%
Rep 31.5%
No/Oth 9.2%
Ballot  
Absentee 9.5%
In-Person 90.5%
12.5% 769,645 19.1% 10/29
Wisconsin         3,016,288 12.1%  
Wyoming         245,789 19.6%

* Link below for full spreadsheet of complete statistics

2008 Early Voting Statistics

International Perspective: Pennsylvania a Key Battleground in US Election (Video)

International Perspective: America Votes – Florida Early Voting (Video)

The eyes of the world are focused on America in these last days before the 2008 presidential election on November 4th.  So how is this monumental event being covered in news reports to other countries?  NTV Kenya, the leading TV broadcast station in Kenya, Africa reports on early voting in Florida, with the journalist carefully explaining the process to his viewers back home.

BREAKING NEWS: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Extends Florida Early Voting Hours; Some Republicans Upset (Videos)

Some Republicans think Crist has now cost McCain Florida…

In a somewhat big story, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has extended the early voting hours in Florida by an extra four hours a day, a move that Democrats were pushing for and Republicans were against. This decision will likely cause Obama to further expand his lead in Florida early voting, since the Republicans don’t seem to have have any large scale early voting GOTV program in place (they focused more on mail ballots).

At a hastily arranged news conference, Crist said the right to vote is sacred and that “many have fought and died for this right.” He said he consulted a leading Democratic legislator, Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, before issuing his order, and that Gelber knew of a similar order issued by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 that dealt with helping voters deal with new equipment.

As to the perception that more early voting helps Democrats, Crist said: “This is not a political decision. This is a people decision.”

One well connected Florida Republican had this to say about the decision, probably overreaching a bit.

“He just blew Florida for John McCain.”

So why does this help Obama and hurt McCain? Here’s a simple explanation of it. Obama’s base tends to be in big cities and urban areas. Voting locations in big cities tend to have very long lines on election day because a single voting location serves thousands of people. This is why Obama has made such a push for early voting — he doesn’t want people to show up on election day, see long lines, and go home. McCain’s base is mostly in rural areas and suburbs. Voting locations in rural areas and suburbs tend to have no lines, because they only serve a few hundred people at most. Extending early voting hours allows the Obama camp to get more of these people in urban centers to the polls and thus reduce traffic on election day which in turn will cause shorter lines and further increase turnout.

Crist Extends Florida Early Voting Hours; Republicans Upset

Last week, all nine Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation wrote a letter urging him to expand early voting and to order all early voting sites to be open on Sunday.

Early balloting in Florida so far favors Democrats, while Republicans hold an advantage in absentee voting. Waits of up to four hours have been reported in precincts in heavily-Democratic Broward County.

And finally, this video from an earlier voter in Broward County, South Florida, who from start to finish, was able to vote today in just under 3 hours.

Rachel Maddow and DNC Chairman Howard Dean Stress the Importance of Voting Early