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View Diary: Who Called the Wisconsin Recall Election? (77 comments)

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  •  I never quite understood the rush in this country (2+ / 0-)
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    HudsonValleyMark, rosarugosa

    After an election, there's (typically) two months before the victor takes part in government.  It shouldn't really matter whether the results are known the night of the election or the day after.  Or a week after, for that matter.  There's no reason to screw over Hawaiian voters (and those on the west coast) this way except for what boils down to a "first post!" claim.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 11:28:00 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  yes, but there's a dilemma (2+ / 0-)
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      GeoffT, Nomi Rene

      I don't have anything positive to say about the pressure to project a winner a few minutes before some other source. The best I can say is that maybe a lot of people learned in 2000 that the calls can be wrong. Sometimes elections are just too close to call.

      But as I've said elsewhere, I don't think the west coast problem is rooted in pressure on major media outlets to call states fast. If people can obtain vote counts, they can draw their own conclusions.

      And if people can't obtain vote counts, that may create a different problem. If polling places in some states are sitting on their vote counts for hours, will people around the country trust that they are just sitting on their vote counts and not cooking them? As many DKos comment threads over the years illustrate, people get nervous when there is a long delay between when the polls close and when vote counts are released. Generally "quick counts" are considered a good thing.

      Also, it will probably cost money for the eastern states to delay reporting vote counts in presidential elections -- for instance, to pay pollworkers to wait at polling places. Will Congress appropriate funds to pay for that?

      I don't have a strong opinion about the best thing to do. I just think that the problem is more complicated than it seems at first.

      •  I think the real problem here (1+ / 0-)
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        is that the folks in Hawaii or the west coast who are indifferent to their who their leaders will be and won't bother to vote in the event that the Presidential part of the election has been decided.

        I think also that we are talking about 3 different things:

        1) Raw vote totals which become available as soon as a given state, county or local municipality releases them either to the media or on a website. These numbers actually can become available before all the polls are closed in a state in states with multiple poll closing times (usually do to time zone differences)

        2) Exit polls. These are embargoed until all the polls in a given state are closed.

        3) Calls by the media which are made through a combination of 1 and 2 and other information obtained. These are usually released starting at the same time as the exit polling information.

        The raw vote totals are usually pretty slow and without exit polling and/or knowledge of the state it would often be difficult to draw quick information from the raw vote totals alone. So, perhaps if one were to restrain the availability of information one wouldn't have to delay the vote counting, but rather the exit polling information and the calls.

        Nevertheless, I don't think there is sufficient need to do so. With regards to results within a state, only those who are in line waiting to vote might be influenced by a quick call. I don't think there is a good way to even know when everyone in the state has voted given the large number of precincts. Further, I would suspect that the number of people who show up close to poll closing time and don't get to vote until after poll closing time represents a fairly small portion of the people voting in a given election. This percentage is made even smaller when one considers that most people who are waiting in line probably remain in line and vote the same way they would have if the call had not been made.

        With regards to Presidential races, people who opt out of voting for Senators, Representatives, Congressman, State Legislators, Governors, other elected officials as well as on important ballot measures because the Presidential race  is already decided have limited sympathy from me. The solution I think is education on the importance of other offices and issues.

        •  great comment (0+ / 0-)

          Obviously people can disagree with your conclusions, but I think the analysis is very good. One extension:

          The raw vote totals are usually pretty slow and without exit polling and/or knowledge of the state it would often be difficult to draw quick information from the raw vote totals alone.
          I agree that without knowledge of the state, the early-reported vote counts aren't so helpful.

          It may be helpful to disaggregate "raw vote totals." The decision teams use both precinct-level and county-level vote counts. (In Wisconsin, it seems that turnout totals are released before vote counts; they probably use those, too.) Precinct-level counts are harder to obtain in bulk, and it does take some preparation to be able to use them well, but they can provide a very clear indication of what's going on. If the exit pollsters can quickly obtain vote counts from most of their interview precincts, and perhaps some others chosen in advance, they may be able to make pretty good projections. Anyone with a network of observers could do this.

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