Sunday, October 28, 2012

Early Voting Notes and Other Election Observations (UPDATED)

See the ADDED paragraph below for the update.

Early voting started here in Florida yesterday. The length of time for early voting has been shortened by several days and the number of locations for early voting has decreased. The closest to us is a local library branch in Ocoee. The voting is in the back of the building. The line (in the past) will go straight down the center of the building and then outside.

We drove by the nearest one yesterday around 10 AM. The line stretched out of the building, along the front, curved around the side and then outwards in a 'u' shaped pattern and then out into a field. A HUGE line. The elementary school parking lot and the aforementioned field were filled with cars.

The black churches locally are making a big push to get their people out to the polls. The line was probably about 50-60% black. (Being the closes to us means its also the closest to Pine Hills.) Drove by it this morning and the line didn't seem quite as long, though it was still out into the field. Given that I was there a little earlier today and that white and blacks on this town are more likely to be church going folk that does not surprise at all.

My wife had been hoping to vote this weekend but she wasn't about to stand in those lines. So she'll try again early tomorrow. I'm likely to go sometime in the middle of the day during the week - should be fewer people in line then.

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Looking around voter intensity seems to be up on the Republican side from last time. (I'll come back to the black vote shortly.) The latest poll by the Tampa Bay Times has the I-4 corridor going for Romney 51-45%. The poll was conducted by the Mason-Dixon polling outfit. That pretty much means lights out for Obama in Florida. Obama can't win the state without at least tying in the I-4 corridor.

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Blacks were definitely turning out to vote yesterday. (I didn't get as close to the line today so I don't know what it looked like today.) My wife told me that she's read about the big get-out-the-vote effort by the churches. However before the Dems get too excited they should remember a few things. First, not all blacks go to church. Second, there just aren't as many blacks in this area as there were four years ago. When I go up to vote later in the week I will definitely see more whites (as a percentage) than I did yesterday. There's no doubt that the Republicans are going to be serious about getting out and voting this time around.

ADDED: I forgot to mention that at least three other races might be driving the black vote this time around. Sheriff Jerry Demmings is running for re-election in Orange County. He's the county's first black sheriff. I have no idea how he will do in that election, and because of some local law enforcement issues he isn't guaranteed the black vote. His wife Val Demmings is running for Congress against Congressman Daniel Webster. This is Webster's first re-election effort, and Val was recently Orlando's Chief of Police (first black and first woman to hold that position). I think Val doesn't have a chance in that election. Also, Congresswoman Corrine Brown is up for re-election again. She's in a racially gerrymandered district that stretches from Pine Hills to Jacksonville. Most of the blacks in Pine Hills are in her district and not Webster's. Corrine is in a safe seat, and her (apparently whacky) challenger hasn't got a prayer. 

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Bottom line: At this point I will be surprised if Obama wins Orange County. I haven't been out to the east and south ends of OC enough recently to have any idea what those areas will do, but R intensity is up over four years ago.

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