Why election counts are getting slower, from NCSL’s Canvass

This month’s Canvass on election counts, including quotes from yours truly! 

Oregon state senator concerned about third party ballot delivery

This story in the Corvallis Gazette Times caught my eye.  State Sen. Frank Morse wants to ban third party delivery of ballots. 

Another example where last minute “early” votes turned a race

This time in Ashland, OR:


The lesson?  Never count your votes until the votes are counted.  And “early” early voters are very likely to be very different from “late” early voters.

Maine candidate claims early voting cost him the election

We knew it would not take long for a candidate to claim a final surge missed by early voters.

Gallup Poll: Early voting highest among older voters and westerners

New poll out from Gallup. Implication: the rest of the campaign out West is all about young voters.

Marc Ambinder gets early voting right


Losing candidate in MA primary looking for “excuses”

A losing candidate in Everett, MA raised “the specter of voting irregularities” due to an abnormally high number of absentee ballots in the primary for State Senate.  

Interestingly, the candidate, Tim Flaherty, wants the clerk to examine whether all absentee voters proved that their excuses were valid. 


Jeff Zeleny on early voting: the virtues of not being quoted

Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times had a nice piece on early voting yesterday, and how the rise of new balloting methods have altered political campaigns.

I notice that no academics were quoted in the piece, including of course, me! I think this is actually an accomplishment – while I have been predicting these changes to campaign strategy for years, there have been little hard data, or even anecdotes, illustrating the change.

Zeleny’s story, rather than relying on speculative quotes from scholars like myself, relies on quotes from candidates, party officials, and the like.  This is good – early voting has gone mainstream.  

And ironically, post-2010 and especially post-2012 is finally the time when academics will be able to finally weigh in with solid empirical data about the impact of early campaigns on voter behavior.  

Crossposted at electionupdates.caltech.edu


Negative ads in September: a consequence of early voting?

This Sunday’s NYT ramped up the newspaper’s midterm election coverage, including a story highlighting a wave of negative advertising being put out by Democrats in tight races.

As we’ve argued in the past, the longer “Election Day” created by early voting is likely to change campaigns in a number of ways, including bringing forward the blitz of negative advertising that was traditionally reserved for later in the cycle:

Opposition research and attack advertising are used in almost every election, but these biting ads are coming far earlier than ever before, according to party strategists. The campaign has intensified in the last two weeks as early voting begins in several states and as vulnerable incumbents try to fight off an onslaught of influences by outside groups.

Alaska teaches the nation about voter intent

I have given many talks about vote by mail / no excuse absentee voting in the past four years.  One of the most interesting topics is always voter intent–a concept foreign to many Midwesterners and East Coasters (election officials are generally aware from professional contacts).

The first national learning moment on voter intent was probably the contested Minnesota Senate race.  Now it looks like voter intent has hit the big time with the Murkowski announcement in Alaska.  

As I blogged about a few weeks ago, combine voter intent laws with a very lenient post-mark it by election day, a slow postal system in Alaska, a close race in Alaska, and the possibility that control of the Senate may rest with the state, and we have a recipe for a firestorm.

If you’re an election lawyer or election law/admin scholar, it might be good to clear your calendar for two weeks after Nov. 2.