Streams

The Process is Political: Early Voting and Turnout in Special Elections

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One of These Special Elections Is Not Like the Other: In special Congressional elections in New York and Nevada, turnout will be key today. In New York, there could be a headline-grabbing upset victory for the Republicans, while the seat in Nevada looks like a safe keeper for the GOP. But that's not the only way the elections differ. Nevada voters have already had two weeks to cast their votes early. They are electing a rep to replace the Congressman who moved to the Senate to serve out Sen. John Ensign's term after he resigned during a sex and ethic scandal, and the early voting turnout already in looks to favor Republican Mark Amodei, because a majority of ballots cast were Republican. Voters have been able to vote in the two weeks before Election Day since 1994. A bill to eliminate early voting in the state was introduced this year, but failed. Thirty-two states have early voting, but New York isn't one of them. Voters who are electing a replacement for former Rep. Anthony Weiner in New York's Ninth Congressional District could only vote absentee if they had an excuse to be out of the district on Election Day. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Recommended Redistricted Reading: The Godfather: Finding all the complicated rules, commissions, boundary lines that come with redistricting a little dry? Just pause and appreciate the back-room whispers and long-held grudges that could be behind some of the odd-shaped districts. Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett said he's sure he's been targeted, and he's taking it personally. "I have no doubt in my mind there's a direct relation to the governor," he told AP about the legislature's efforts to cut his district into five pieces. And in Illinois, Republican Rep. Joe Walsh is on the losing end as the Democratically-controlled legislature put him a district with two fellow Republicans. "The whole process stinks," Walsh told AP. "It shouldn't be left up to politics." But political scientist Jack Pitney said redistricting revenge is nothing new. "To understand it, you don't need to read 'The Federalist Papers.' You need to read 'The Godfather.'" (Associated Press)

Skirting Campaign Disclosure with Paypal?: The Massachusetts Democratic Party wants state election officials to investigate contributions that a Republican state representative raised through Paypal. The Dems claim that that's allowing contributors to avoid disclosing information like their occupation and employer. Paypal contributions aren't illegal under state law, but donors have to give their names and addresses and pay by a credit card. Rep. Keiko Orrall said she was working to correct "this minor glitch." The complaint came a week before a local election next week. (South Coast Today)

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