Tuesday, May 15, 2007

election day ramblings

Did you vote yet? Polls close at 8pm.

Last chance for you to try out some of the political races I put into the New Pittsburgh Stock Exchange. Think of it as an online exit poll maybe. Check it out.

on the apparent Republican candidate for mayor. Not quite sure what to make of this ad hoc run for Mayor by Mark Desantis. Kind of funny to think that the only thing contested about the mayor's race is whether the Democratic mayor gets more write-in votes on the Republican side than a stealth candidate who seemed to disavow running last week. Either would need 250 votes to actually get the 'nomination'.. may not seem like a lot but consider that Joe Weinroth received a sum total of 4,079 votes in the Republican primary last time around and he had been actively campaigning for months with a lot of 'earned' media along the way. You have to believe there will be (a lot?) fewer Republican votes cast this time around. In fact, what motivation is there for a city republican to come out and vote at all in this election? In the end you may need to get 9-10% of the R voters city-wide to actually fill in a write-in name. That isn't a trivial exercise. Some say it's easier with the new machines, but I am not convinced. How accurate do you have to be spelling a name? Didn't candidates give out pre-printed stickers you could actually paste in the box with the old mechanical machines for cases like this? It goes with the age statistics, but I dont see your average Pittsburgh voter being too keen on typing on a touch screen. Update: it would be silly of me to criticize anyone else's spelling... but this is the problem with the write-in campaign. KDKA's story today online is telling people it is Mark Desantos running, not Desantis.. Would a judge consider that the same person? It also says something about how well he is known. I predict they will correct the error, but it has been a couple hours.

Speaking of Republicans at the polls. Does each voting district really have a minority clerk? Does that mean Republican? 400+ voting districts in the city. That would mean a sizable percentage of republicans votes cast are actually just the poll workers themselves? that is a question, I really don't know.

on Act 1: Man oh man. How bad is the public knowledge of this "Act 1" referendum that is going on today. Last night on OnQ, no less than Jim Roddey, Joe Mistick and Chris Moore agreed with a misinformed caller and gave out completely false information that Independents can't vote on the referendum today. The primary election is closed, which means only those registered in one of the major parties can vote for candidates... but independents can indeed vote for the referendum. But if those three got it wrong, imagine what the average voter knows about this referendum. Wow.

and if you are part of that last minute push to Get Out the Vote... here is a suggestion: Turn off those automated phone calls. In fact there is some research to support the idea that the phone calls don't work at all, possibly even work against the candidates. See:

Does canvassing increase voter turnout? A field experiment. by Alan S. Gerber and Donald P. Green

There is even some collaborating research says the same thing here: Phone-Based GOTV—What’s on the Line? Field Experiments with Varied Partisan Components, 2002-2003 by John E. Mcnulty. State University of New York at Binghamton
I am not so surprised by that finding, although there is some debate over its validity. I bet most start to tune out the calls when they really start to come in all the time. I actually think the calls actually just get some people angry in the end.


Blogger EdHeath said...

Since this is an election day rambling, I will ramble myself. Where would I find information on the size of the different council districts, population-wise? Turnout in my district was larger than other counicl districts numerically, but I was wondering about the percentage.
How long until the county certifies or whatever it is they do? Councilman Bodack seemed confident that absentee ballots could put him over the top.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

to avoid confusion I deleted a comment of my own which wasn't correct. The reported vote totals include the absentee ballots. but email me if you have some question on voting districts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 4:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey chris, i have an anectdotal answer to your question about minority clerks in democratic districts. i met a minority clerk in baldwin borough on tuesday who said he was definitely a democrat, and that a democrat can be appointed if there are "no republicans who are interested."

Saturday, May 19, 2007 3:02:00 PM  

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