A judge in Cameron County, TX (Brownsville) has impounded ballots in anticipation of a potential contested election. Some poll watchers charged that the signatures on absentee applications did not match the envelopes.
This is not all about absentee voting, however. One campaign charged the precinct place ballot boxes were left unsealed at the end of election day.
The final tally was 2159 to 2110.
I have been receiving literally dozens of emails every day. I am sorry that I cannot answer all of these questions individually, but the most common and most important one is this:
YES. Your early votes ARE counted.
It is not true that early votes are only counted if an election is close. The final, certified results include all ballots.
Since early voting began this election cycle, and since it has become apparent that turnout among registered Democrats has been higher than among registered Republicans in some states, an important question has been raised: does public knowledge of who is voting early affect the outcome of the election?
This is an excellent question for which we, unfortunately, don’t have an answer. Yet.
There are a couple things to keep in mind, however, when searching for possible conclusions.
We do not know how individuals voted, we only know if a voter is registered Democrat or Republican. This may be an indicator of how they have or will vote, but voters do not always cast ballots for the same party with which they are registered.
This said, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Democrats in many states that allow early voting have cast more ballots than their Republican counterparts. (See EVIC’s previous posts or articles in USA Today and BBC News.) Might just knowing this, might just the impression that there have been more ballots cast for the Democratic candidate affect the outcome of the election, whether or not it is true?
A question I am sure we will ponder in the months to come…
Statement Regarding the MSNBC Map for Early Voting
October 23, 2008
Paul Gronke, Early Voting Information Center
MSNBC published on their website a map describing which states allow no-excuse early voting in the 2008 election cycle. The map was based on information obtained from the Early Voting Information Center (earlyvoting.net).
The information was collected to follow early voting in the 2008 primary. The chart clearly stated that the information had not been updated since February 2008. Some states have changed their laws since that time, and we have labored to keep up with a rapidly changing terrain of early voting.
In addition, we note clearly on the webpage that there are conflicting interpretations of what constitutes “early in person” and “absentee” voting. We use “early in person” voting to describe situations where a citizen shows up at an elections office or satellite location and votes in most respects like on election day–checking in with a government official, signing in on a poll book, and casting a ballot on a voting machine.
We use “absentee” voting to describe situations where citizens request an absentee ballot, which is usually delivered to them by mail, and then they return this ballot, most often by mail. Many states do not require an excuse in order to vote absentee (“no excuse”), while some states retain the requirement that a voter provide an excuse.
However, an increasing number of states allow citizens to show up in person at a local elections office, request an absentee ballot, and fill out the ballot right there. We have chosen to call this “early in person absentee balloting” but some states describe this as “early in person voting.” Obviously, EVIC cannot establish a set of definitions for all states.
This information used by MSNBC was used without prior consultation with EVIC and the included some information that was out of date. The information has been updated to the best of our abilities. We apologize for any misinterpretations that have been based on the map produced by MSNBC, although we played no part in the production of the map.
Finally, MSNBC included on their map only early in person voting. They ignored the columns that described “by mail” voting which is why WA and OR are mislabeled on the map.
Conny McCormack, formerly of the LA County elections office, reviewed Florida elections in two large counties (Hillsborough and Miami-Dade) during their fall primary. She warns of the high likelihood of long lines during early voting–a prediction that is coming all too true.