Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Liveblogging the Louisiana Races

I, along with many other people, will be liveblogging the election as part of a massive project organized by Command Post. The idea is simple but great - volunteers from every state in the Union will be posting directly to that site, so if you're interested in California voting, for example (I know, bad example - no one cares about California voting) you can click on the California stuff and find out what the dilly-o is. I'll be cross-posting here and there, and maybe just here with links over there.

I have not voted yet (9:05 Louisiana time) because of classes. I did wander over to the polling place, however. There were 56 people in line, with more people arriving before I finished counting. The lady running the polling place said it's not at all unusual to see that many people that early in that particular polling place, because "this precinct votes." Bully for our precint. On my short walk to the polling place, I saw only Bush/Cheney or other Republican signs, although I know there are a smattering of Kedwards signs in the neighborhood.

Cross the parish (that's "county" for you non-Louisianans) lines, however, and it's a different story. I live in Jefferson Parish, which is very Republican. Orleans parish is very Democrat. I'm not a native, and so the first Louisiana election I saw I was horrified at how garish the bazillion campaign signs littering the medians could be. I'm still horrified, but less so because I guess I'm used to it. And in Orleans Parish, they are almost exclusively Kedwards or other Dem signs.

One final anecdote for the morning. I was waiting at a stop light and I saw a guy passing out flyers which I (correctly) assumed were political flyers. He did not approach me, however. I had to get his attention and wave him over to the car first. I'd say BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership Development) needs to get some more aggressive volunteers.

Update: I can't seem to get Command Post to work for me. So far, I'm not sure if it's Command Post, YahooGroups, or me. I'll see what I can do to get things moving. Even if I don't, please check Command Post for updates.

Update: Okay, I'm double posting on Command Post, and generally making a mess of things. Apologies all around. I can't figure out how to delete superfluous posts, or edit spelling errors. Crud.

Update: Via John Dias, posting at Command Post, links and exerpts from stories on voting machine problems. The emerging details actually give me a little more hope. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate's story, what we're looking at is at least eleven precincts in New Orleans with at least one broken voting machine. That's certainly no fun for anybody, but it means there should be functional machines at these places. In other words, it means longer lines, but not necessarily disenfranchisement (unless people complain that the wait is so long they are disenfranchised).

More disturbing is this report that some polling places don't have provisional ballots. That's bad news, because you have a much stronger cause to complain if you can't vote at all for lack of the necessary supplies.

Different Experience Update: A friend of mine (I didn't get permission to post his name, so I'll assume I don't have it) say he only waited in line for seven minutes, and he went at 10:30 a.m. It sounds like everyone is going to vote early (before work) or late (after work), so when I vote at about 1:00 p.m. I shouldn't have too much trouble. Let's hope.

Update: Since that last update, I haven't talked with anyone who saw any lines at all. One classmate of mine (she wishes to remain anonymous, but seriously, do any of you even care who she might be? It's none of your business!) voted in another polling place representing three precincts, and she had no line at all. The other two had short lines, nothing more. That was noon-ish. Another girl here reported no lines around 1:00 (different polling place), and commented that apparently no one around where she lives cares who the President is. [Ed. - Perhaps they don't think their vote for Pres will count, but their vote for Congress makes a huge difference].

Anonymous girl tells me she has no idea who any of her neighbors voted for in the congressional race, because the only signs up are for the presidential race.

Also, I posted the following on Command Post:

"I keep hearing on the radio about long lines throughout the state. But in Metairie (New Orleans suburb), the line was down to 20 by 1:00 pm, and down to less than 10 by 3:30. Friends of mine in New Orleans tell me that turn-out was very low in some of the poor precincts. I went to check it out myself, and a) there was practically no one there, and b) it had just started pouring rain.
The people working the polls were very unhelpful. They were very suspicious, gave short answers, and refused to answer after a couple of questions. I also suspect they weren’t telling me the truth, because they said they’ve been busy all day (contra what my friends have been telling me, and contra what I saw with my own eyes)."

"Coffee enthusiast Shelley Miller writes, 'Voted at 7:30 this morning then went for coffee - and the voting line was shorter than Starbucks!!!'"

There you go.

Update: Via the oddly-named (but who am I to talk?) Library Chronicles, an eye-witness account here and here about voter disenfranchisement in New Orleans. Our author reports first-hand on the broken machine problem, and then spends some time discussing the problem of broken machines in poor black areas.

Not to contradict him (because of course, I would have no way of knowing), the very poor black areas I visited reported no problems with voting machines.