The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election: Early Voting

November 01, 2004

Heavy Turnout in Northwest Arkansas

I just spoke with the County Clerks for both Washington and Benton counties (the second and third largest counties in the state, respectively).

In Washington County, the person I spoke with said that, as of close of business on Saturday, 13,371 people had taken advantage of early voting. Business today, is also very heavy. The clerk’s office is on the third floor of the courthouse and I was told that the line extends out of the office, down the stairs all the way to the ground floor and that it has been like this since they opened the doors this morning. They estimate that they are running about 500-600 people through the process every hour. At that rate, they could end up with more than 4,000 voters just today. If that holds, more than 20% of the county’s 88,000 registered voters will not have to worry about waiting at their local polling stations tomorrow.

In Benton County, the story is almost the same. The Clerk’s office reports that they have served more than 15,000 early voters and are also very busy today. They believe they will end up around 19,000 which would, again, be approximately 20% of the county’s registered voters.

Posted by Matthew at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 31, 2004

Votes From the Dead to Count in Election

AP: Votes From the Dead to Count in Election

In what would be her last conscious act, 90-year-old Trixie Porter gripped a pen in her weak, trembling hand, checked the candidates of her choice and scrawled a squiggled signature on her absentee ballot.

Within an hour, the petite woman who had been suffering from heart problems lay back in her hospital bed, closed her eyes and never woke up. Her ballot arrived at her local elections board two days later, Oct. 5 — the day she died.

“We commented that day that it probably won’t count,” said daughter Cheryl McConnell. “But she went to her grave not knowing any different. It counted with her.”

An untold number of ballots like Porter’s will indeed be counted because of the haphazard and cumbersome process of enforcing laws in many states to weed out the absentee votes of those who die by Election Day.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 02:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 23, 2004

Early Voting Turnout - Arkansas

Early voting in the state of Arkansas, which began on Moday, October 18, is being greeted with extremely heavy turnout. I visited the Washington County Clerk’s office earlier today to cast my own votes, and was able to spend a few minutes with County Clerk Karen Combs Pritchard.

Ms. Pritchard told me that the numbers of voters taking advantage of early voting had come as a welcome surprise to her office. Throughout the week, they have averaged over 900 voters per day. The turnout today was especially brisk. The office was only open for three hours and they processed more than 300 people in the first hour. I arrived approximately ten minutes before closing and they had exceeded 500 people. In all, they have served more than 5,000 voters this week. That’s just under 9% of the total population in the community they serve.

Other communities around the state are also experiencing heavy turnout, with Pulaski County (Little Rock) estimating more than 2,000 voters per day this week.

Nationally, The Day newspaper in New London, CT, is reporting more than 1.3 million early voters just in eight swing states, including around 10% of registered voters in Nevada and New Mexico.

More on the Arkansas turnout can be found here and here.

Posted by Matthew at 06:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack