By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff
CLEVELAND — If this election day produces fewer of the registration-related voting glitches than those that have plagued past presidential contests, the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama can take some credit.
Obama’s prodigious field organization not only pulled tens of millions of voters to the polls, his army of field operatives was part of a highly sophisticated voter education and outreach effort that operated with military precision in equipping voters with information to help them avoid problems at the polls.
In door-to-door contacts all across the country, campaign canvassers left millions of large pieces of literature hanging on doorknobs that contained detailed voter information tailored to that particular state and voters’ particular precinct.
Here’s how it worked:………….
Check out the coverage of the use of Twitter in the US elections today referenced over at the Guardian but picked up widely elsewhere, here and here. As Americans are going to the polls they have been able to report their experiences at the booths using Twitter by adding the hashtag #votereport to their tweets.
Polls: Gallup’s final tracking poll was Obama 55%, McCain 44%. The RealClearPolitics poll average is starting to look rather familiar: Obama 52%, McCain 44.2%. A couple of last-minute polls show Obama holding his lead in Pennsyvlania and just in the lead in Florida; meanwhile, 74% of Americans say this historic, extraordinary election matters more to them than previous ones.
Here are some front pages from around the world today, courtesy of the Newseum’s website.
I’ve seen the polls too, but I still think Belgium’s De Standaard is jumping the gun a bit:
by Cheryl Rofer
I can see that I am likely to drive myself crazy until tonight, checking the newspapers and other blogs compulsively. So, even though WhirledView readers aren’t very talky, I’m going to start an open thread where I hope you’ll share your voting experiences. I’ll start with mine.
Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s US presidential election, George W. Bush will leave the White House in 2009. The European press comments on the end of an era and the expectations placed on the new US president, whether it be John McCain or Barack Obama.
Denis Boyles argues in the National Review that while the vast majority of Europeans are hoping Obama will be elected President of the United States today, he would not have a chance of success were he running to lead any European country. Boyles offers five reasons why:
An Obama presidency would change the way the Middle East sees America, argues the editor of a Moroccan newsmagazine
It’s been several months since I told you that Barack Obama’s nomination as the presidential candidate for a major political party, could only happen in America . But even as I said that, I also insisted that he would never be elected president because of his race, particularly since he was running against a patrician white man. Now, and I say this with a cautious optimism, it seems that on the night of 4 November (EST of course) I may be eating a dish of crow, and relishing every bite.
The long, long election campaign season culminates today as people make their choices on hundreds of statewide and local contests as well as the race for the next U.S. president. Throughout the day, we’re keeping an eye on Google Hot Trends to decipher what may be meaningful, as well as what’s "business as usual" in Google searches. We’ll post updates as interesting trends turn up. – Ed.
And here’s a nice Rachel Maddow rant about long lines as the new version of the poll tax.
If you need anthropological perspectives on the US-election Obama-McCain, you’ll find them in the new issue of Anthropology News. One of the articles is about a study on voting, polticial participation and citizenship among individuals with psychiatric disability.
Many Americans are excluded from voting. Anthropologist Sara M. Bergstresser is conducting the study, using a “community-based participatory research framework". She writes:
The Associated Press is known for its comprehensive coverage of political campaigns. It is, in fact, the sole source of vote count for the American media on election night.
When it comes to covering the 2008 presidential election, the AP relies on a team of more than 500 reporters, technical workers, researchers, photographers, and others to provide a balanced perspective to the more than 2,000 news organizations, both print and broadcast, that subscribe to the agency. That number multiplies by 10 when more than 4,600 "stringers" on election night to count votes in the AP’s four election centers. Votes are tabulated from data received by state governments, as well as exit polls, which help analyze voting patterns on issues such as gender and race.
Amid all the other coverage (including, of course, our own) one of the fascinating places to watch the US election happen in front of your eyes is twittervotereport.com/, which updates constantly with input from all over the country (at least, where the polls are open) about the length of queues, any problems (or lack of them) in voting, and so on.
In the 2006 midterm elections, Americans living abroad returned only a third of the approximately one million absentee ballots mailed out to them. With roughly six million Americans serving in the military overseas or living abroad eligible to vote, that works out to a pretty dismal 5.5% turnout rate. In this election, expatriate voting rates should be much better — and not just because of the presidential race at the top of the ballot.
On 29 July 2008, President George W Bush appeared at the Lincoln Electric Company in Euclid, Ohio, where he spoke about energy and then asked the audience for questions. The opportunity for people in a small town in the midwest to pose a question directly to the president of the United States is a rare one, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "And now I’d like to answer some questions, if you have any", said Bush. But his request was returned with silence. Bush filled the air with an awkward joke: "After seven-and-a-half years, if I can’t figure out how to dodge them, I shouldn’t…" The audience tittered nervously. Bush continued, "If you don’t have any questions, I can tell you a lot of interesting stories." The crowd laughed again, but no one raised a hand. "Okay", said Bush, "I’ll tell you a story."
I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to say about today’s election, and here’s the parting thought I’d like to close with: No matter who wins, the United States and the world are going to be just fine.
During the heat of the campaign, I think many people tend to forget that U.S. politics is fought over very narrow ground. A good analogy might be to a football game that takes place entirely between the two 40-yard lines.