Monday, October 27, 2008

Elections Schmelections

CNN has a disturbing feature on the huge number of people who won’t be allowed to vote in November because their names have been wrongly purged from voter records. Turns out faulty record keeping and questionable registration practices can result in voter information “mismatches” that have, for example, flagged certain voters as non-U.S. citizens. These kinds of errors could be fixed, but some swing states like Georgia have decided to purge their voter records of mismatches just days before the election, not giving voters enough time to correct the errors. These people will be allowed to vote with provisional or challenge ballots until their information can be verified, but it’s up to state officials whether those ballots end up being counted. Of course, the accusation here is that most of the victims of these voter purges are likely Democratic voters (college students, minorities, MSNBC fans). I don’t know if there’s a conspiracy afoot, but there are federal election laws barring states from purging voter records so close to an election. You’d think a first world country like the U.S. would be able to hold an uncontested election once every four years, but I guess we’ll just have to keep the dream alive. More details here. And remember to keep your browser-o-graphs tuned to this frequency on election night, when The Amateur Scientist will be hosting an action-packed liveblog and public chatroom until all the votes are in, all the states are counted, and all the anchors are frazzled.

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