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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Saturday, November 06, 2004

    The party's over 

    The people have spoken. We have spoken.

    We blogged for large parts of the year. When we first started out, as Hot Off the Trail, Howard Dean was screaming, John Kerry was winning (primaries) and we had a plethora of candidates who were already getting tired of bad food and long days on the road.

    Before all the other Dems even dropped out, the Bush-Kerry trash talk heated up and kept going for much of the year.

    Last week, we changed our name to America Votes and covered the days leading up to as well as the fateful day, Election Day. We wondered if we'd be covering this for weeks or even months to come, but by midday Wednesday, Bush was reelected.

    Opinions, passions and speculations continue on both sides but the parties have cleaned up and the party's over.

    Thanks for joining us. We had a great time.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:06 PM

    You might not be sorry to see it all end ... 

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    In case anyone is still counting ... 

    Bush officialy won Iowa, three days after Election Day.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:41 AM

    Are you ready to be Canadian? 

    For any Dems ready to head for the border - the northern border with Canada, that is - Thane Burnett, a columnist for the Toronto Sun, offers an unofficial citizenship test in today's Philadelphia Daily News.

    Questions include: "What are Smarties?" "If you're in Newfoundland, and ask the quickest way to get to "Dildo," where would they tell you to go?" and "Explain our senate. To the rest of us."

    Also, Burnett points out, "From now on, you will no longer have to disguise Canadian landmarks while filming American movies."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:12 AM

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Disconnection in the extreme 

    Many in the San Francisco Bay Area are looking around and wondering what happened on Tuesday.

    In six Bay Area counties, the vote for Sen. John Kerry over President Bush was a resounding 71 percent to 28 percent. And yet, 44 percent of California voted for Bush's re-election and 51 percent of the country agreed.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:40 PM

    60 percent? That's not even a passing grade 

    The Philadelphia Daily News, which has a lot to say, offers two opinions on Tuesday's outcome.

    Stu Bykofsky says: "For blue-faced Democratic diehards who insist this is the first time [Bush] "won," pardon me for saying that sour grapes like that helped get him re-elected. Your infantile whining is music the Republicans love to dance to."

    Ronnie Polaneczky asks: "How cynical, how blatantly hypocritical, is it for this president to ask for unity, while ignoring the fact that, during his presidency, we have ceased being the United States? Instead, we've become the Divided Ones - separated into the reds and the blues, so radically different in our belief about what it is to be an American that neither side can be expected to support the other's chosen leader."

    Bykofsky also adds, and this is across the board, that we had a "record" turnout with 60 percent of eligible national voters turning out.

    "When I went to school, 60 percent was a failing grade," he wrote. "What about the 40 percent who stayed home? What would it take to get those lardasses out - free pumpkin pie?"

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:19 PM

    Too many people, not enough machines 

    It wasn't just heavy turnout that made polling places look like Soviet-era bread shops, with lines around the block, the Charlotte Observer reports.

    The system was strained by precincts stuffed with too many registered voters, an unusually long ballot and, in some places, a shortage of voting machines.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:08 PM

    To late for a voting controversy? 


    More than 4,500 votes may have been lost in Carteret County, N.C., because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:00 PM

    Canadians speak 

    Disgruntled Democrat looking for an out? You could go through the usual Canadian immigration process ... or you could marry into the country! A Canadian spoof site, Marry an American, offers to help out forelorn Yanks:

    "And let's face it, when compared to the United States, Canada is a liberal utopia & we have universal healthcare (in two languages!), gay marriage, free marijuana for everyone, and we don't like guns."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:05 PM

    Four more years ... until 2008 

    Is it too soon to pick a leading Democratic candidate for 2008? The New York Times says it's not and adds that Clinton looks like the one to beat. Hillary Clinton, that is, the former first lady and junior Senator from New York.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:46 PM

    Britain asks ... 

    How can 59,054,084 Americans be so dumb?

    OK, Britain didn't really ask. The Daily Mirror did.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:31 PM

    More on Canada 

    The Philadelphia Daily News - which we can always count on to speak its mind - is running a plea for Canada to adopt us.

    We would get flu shots, free health care and a national anthem that's much easier to sing to.

    Our neighbors to the north would get serious sports teams, warm weather vacation spots and fresher produce, as well as top cultural arts:

    "Tourists will love Canada's museums including the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Plus, in addition to Broadway, the Kennedy Center and top regional theater, we're throwing in our best orchestras - Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and L.A."

    According to the Daily News, this relationship would work out well for Blue Staters, Red Staters and existing Candians alike.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:20 PM

    Now to the important news 

    The Associated Press is reporting that a new puppy will be entering the White House.

    W marked Laura's 58th birthday today by announcing he would give her a Scottish terrier puppy that is a relative of the current first dog, Barney.

    Miss Beazley, as the first lady and twins Barbara and Jenna have already named the pup, was born Oct. 28. She is due to arrive just before Christmas.

    The dog was named for the character Uncle Beazley, a dinosaur in Oliver Butterworth's children's book, "The Enormous Egg."

    Stay tuned to the Presidential Pet Museum Web site for important bulletins and holiday gift ideas.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:54 AM

    Insulting T-shirts all around 

    Whichever side you're on, there's an insulting T-shirt to express your opinion at T-Shirt Hell. Warning: Some - or maybe all - may be offensive.

    Two shirts showing the red and blue states offer opposing views. One says: Blue=Democrats, Red=Complete Morons. The other: Red=Republicans, Blue=Idiot Crybabies.

    Also availble: "Well ... that's the last time I vote," "I bet you'll vote next time, hippie" and an HTML special, < /bush>

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:38 AM

    United States of Canada 

    Making its way through e-mail boxes: A new rendering of North America (most of it anyway).

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:14 AM

    Sure, blame the bloggers 

    News organizations are saying they'll look into why exit polls showed an initial surge for John Kerry. But they also blamed bloggers for spreading news that gave a misleading view of the presidential race.

    The Florida and Ohio exit poll results, along with those in other states where Kerry was strong, were quickly disseminated on Web sites such as Slate, the Drudge Report, Wonkette, Atrios and Command Post. Some of these sites cautioned readers not to make too much of the information.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:43 AM

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Next on the agenda 

    Let's wrap up tonight with a look forward, or at least a nervous glance, considering what lies ahead. As one senior administration official told Reuters after the election victory, "There was not a lot of high five-ing. The sense was, OK, we've won, but the prize is the responsibility, the toil."

    Newsday breaks down the issues on the second-term agenda, and the Washington Post says Bush and team will need to move quickly:
    With bigger Republican congressional majorities and a decisive victory in the popular vote, Bush heads into a second term with a clearer mandate and greater power than he did in 2000 to put a conservative, free-market stamp on U.S. domestic and foreign policy. The president and his advisers interpreted Tuesday's election results as a ringing endorsement of his goals of reducing the size of government, providing taxpayers greater control over their income, and continuing, if not intensifying, the war on terrorism and other security threats. ...

    But the president has a relatively brief window, Republican lawmakers say, to leverage his popularity and begin the difficult process of reforming the tax code or Social Security before GOP congressional members start worrying about the midterm elections in 2006 or the presidential race four years from now.

    posted by John Murrell at 11:41 PM

    Nasty storm 

    Michele Catalano of A Small Victory, on the other hand, woke up feeling pretty good until she logged on:
    I woke up to a very different world in which people I assumed were rational Democrats are spitting poison nails. I received some nasty emails and comments (since deleted) that were alarming in their venom and hatred. People I never had a harsh word with were suddenly knocking down my virtual door to leaving the equivalent of letter bombs. ...

    What did you all believe in this year? Hate? Anger? You ran your own campaign, one filled to the brim with bile and acidic spittle and you wonder why you feel so black today? You were pinning your hopes on the the wish that the rest of America harbored the same intense hatred as you and would vote with their clenched fists. Now that you are left without the hoped for victory party as an outlet for your rage, you have to direct it somewhere else. If not at the candidate, then at his voters, right? What I am seeing today makes me pity you, and it's a pity tinged with disgust and should not be mistaken for empathy.

    posted by John Murrell at 10:42 PM

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln ... 

    Joanna Guldi woke up this morning feeling bad ... very bad:
    I saw the beast of history for the first time last night. It was slinking through our electric city of San Francisco, marking the doors of hipsters and intellectuals with ram’s blood.

    They didn’t know it; by morning many of them were back to talking about ideals that had to come true, even if it takes a hundred years: gay marriage, a multiple party system. No, my darling angel-haired idealists, those days are over. Your parents and grandparents fought for pluralism and civil rights. Your own children will inevitably be able to marry their gay lovers. But this is not the time. What passed in front of us was ever so much more complicated. ...

    What happened last night was that the last feather of hope floated away. The last soft imagination that we had just enough consensus in this country to fix the forces that are pulling us apart, gone. Common sense isn’t going to triumph over sentimentality and melodrama. Neither security nor intelligence nor welfare are going to be fixed; all will be handed over to the security billionaires of San Diego and the economists in the pay of DC.

    posted by John Murrell at 9:59 PM

    Extreme makeover, media edition? 

    Jay Rosen at PressThink, among a lot of good observations, asks if we're headed for an opposition press:
    Big Journalism cannot respond as it would in previous years: with bland vows to cover the Administration fairly and a firm intention to make no changes whatsoever in its basic approach to politics and news. The situation is too unstable, the world is changing too rapidly, and the press has been pretending for too long that its old operating system will last forever. It won't. It can't. Particularly in the face of an innovative Bush team and its bold thesis about the fading powers of the press.

    posted by John Murrell at 8:40 PM

    The Democrats' trilemma 

    Timothy Noah, writing at Slate:
    In the coming days, a heartfelt dialogue will begin in which Democrats ask themselves, in a refreshing spirit of constructive self-criticism, why they can't connect with the American middle class. I have been listening to, and occasionally contributing to, discussions on this topic for more than two decades, and they began well before I tuned in. By now, the very subject makes me want to scream. Three critiques tend to dominate this discussion:

    1. Democrats need to move right.
    2. Democrats need to move left.
    3. Democrats should sit tight and await the inevitable demographic shift that will put them on top again.

    They're all wrong.

    posted by John Murrell at 8:22 PM

    Moved by the democratic process 

    Taking the results especially hard? You may want to look over Harper's guide to expatriation, offering counsel on renouncing your citizenship and resettling in another country, on an Indian reservation, on the high seas or in a micronation you create yourself.

    posted by John Murrell at 6:21 PM

    Morality and motivation 

    Steve Thomma of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau looks at the nature of the Republican base:
    Bush never enjoyed broad support. Only half the country approved of the way he handled the job. But he so energized that half and cast enough doubts about Kerry it was enough to win in a nation that remained closely divided, culturally and politically.

    Beyond his aura of strength, he appealed to the country as an anchor of traditional moral and family values. His deep religious faith appealed to churchgoers and his vow to defend the sanctity of heterosexual marriage was one of his biggest campaign applause lines.

    Voters who called moral values their top concern went for Bush by 4-1. Those who called terrorism their top concern voted for him by nearly 5-1. Among Protestants who attend religious services at least once a week, Bush won by 3-2, and by 2-1 for those who attend more than once weekly.

    He won among men, whites, married people, those who make more than $50,000 a year, military veterans, Protestants and Roman Catholics. He carried 84 percent of conservatives and 93 percent of Republicans. He split the independents evenly with Kerry.

    He lost among women, blacks, Hispanics, singles, those who make less than $50,000 a year, Jews, union members and those who never attend religious services.

    posted by John Murrell at 5:58 PM

    You don't need a weatherman 

    Dan Gillmor of the Mercury News and looks ahead and sees stormy times:
    There's no secret about what's coming. We don't have that excuse this time. Here comes more fiscal recklessness -- as we widen the chasm between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else. ... Here comes an expansion of the American empire abroad, a fueling of fear and loathing elsewhere on the globe. ... Our civil liberties will shrink drastically. ... The environment? We'll be nostalgic for Ronald Reagan's time in office.

    Dan sees a nation deeply divided not in two, but in three:
    I suspect there's a third America: members of an increasingly radical middle that will become more obvious in the next few years, tolerant of those who are different and aware that the big problems of our times are being ignored -- or made worse -- by those in power today. That third America needs a candidate. Or, maybe, a new party.

    posted by John Murrell at 4:39 PM

    Crashing in flyover country 

    From the radical left, Alexander Cockburn weighs in on where the Democrats went wrong:
    Week after week Kerry and his boosters displayed an unmatched deafness to political tone. The haughty elitist from Boston probably lost most of the Midwest forever when he said in the high summer that foreign leaders hoped he would win. The applause of the French in Cannes for Michael Moore's 9/11 was the sound of the cement drying over the corpse of Kerry's chances of carrying the Midwest. Soros's dollars were like flowers on the grave. After the billionairess Portuguese-American Teresa Heinz Kerry said in mid-October that Laura Bush had never held a job it was all over.

    posted by John Murrell at 4:00 PM

    It depends on who you ask 

    Bush chief of staff Andrew Card says the president won reelection by more votes than any presidential candidate in American history.

    Howard Dean's Blog for America points out that more Americans voted against George W. Bush than any sitting president in history.

    Safe to say turnout was heavy.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:30 PM

    Europe watches and reacts 

    French president Jacques Chirac and Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero watched Tuesday night's U.S. election and expressed hope that their relationship with the United States could be improved.

    Election interest in Europe was intense, as was the disappointment many felt over Bush's victory. Some saw it as proof that Europe and the United States are further apart than ever.

    Others worried that Bush, strengthened by a bigger win than in 2000 and backed by a Republican Congress, would turn a deaf ear to world concerns.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:11 PM

    What's next for Edwards? 

    The Democratic candidate for the vice presidency won't be going back to the Senate. He gave up his spot and it was filled in Tuesday's election by Republican Richard Burr, a five-term congressman who cast himself as a staunch ally of President Bush.

    We suspect Edwards will be back.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:24 PM

    The provisional ballots are still out there 

    Kerry is conceding, but in Ohio, there are still provisional ballots waiting to be verified. However, it's mathematically impossible for the outcome to change.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:58 PM

    Reconnecting with America 

    It's not only Bush who must try to unify Americans. The Democratic Party must also try to reconnect with much of the country, says Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times:

    "To put it another way, Democrats peddle issues, and Republicans sell values. Consider the four G's: God, guns, gays and grizzlies.

    "One-third of Americans are evangelical Christians, and many of them perceive Democrats as often contemptuous of their faith. And, frankly, they're often right. Some evangelicals take revenge by smiting Democratic candidates."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:13 PM

    The Generation E factor ...  

    Some factoids about youth turnout on Election Day:

    * 4.6 million more 18-29 year olds voted than in 2000.

    * Youth turnout up 9 percentage points.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 12:58 PM

    Diebold machines hold up after all 

    Despite all the pre-election worry and some glitches here and there on Tuesday, the Diebold electronic voting machines did better than expected.

    The Green company's competitors weren't so lucky.

    Thousands of voters complained about machines breaking down and recording the wrong votes in Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The most harrowing reports came from Columbus, Ohio; New Orleans and Philadelphia, all of which used the old Danaher-brand touch-screens.

    Diebold Inc. stock began the morning up almost 2 percent at $49.59.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:23 AM

    Back to the Senate 

    Kerry, we're told, called Bush to concede.

    The good news for him is that he still has a job in the Senate, unlike Al Gore, who rather fell apart after the fateful 2000 election.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:14 AM

    Youth vote wasn't what we expected 

    Adam Smeltz, of the Life of the Parties blog, reports that young voters didn't come out in the great numbers expected after all, at least not all over the country.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:06 AM

    The snoozefest that was TV coverage 

    Determined not to get it wrong this time, the TV networks were extremely conservative about predicting any results Tuesday night.

    Their result: They were far from getting it right.

    All five major networks flooded the screens with talking heads who reported how and why they weren't reporting key presidential results.

    Political blogs were quicker to report results, but they weren't always right.

    To be fair, it's easy to change results on a Web site, while any flub CNN makes will be remembered for years to come.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:54 AM

    Tom's last election 

    Remember that announcement two years ago that NBC's Tom Brokaw would retire after the 2004 elections and be replaced by his regular fill-in, Brian Williams?

    Voila, the 2004 elections are (mostly) behind us. Brokaw's last day is Dec. 1.

    The New York Daily News points out that viewers weren't reminded of this until very late Tuesday night.

    "Tom," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the end of an interview, "on behalf of the millions who watched you for so many campaigns: Thanks for the memories."

    Those many campaigns stretch back to 1956, when a 16-year-old Brokaw worked as a radio reporter in Yankton, S.D.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:45 AM

    We needed a jam cam 

    Traffic in the blogosphere was so heavy Tuesday that many sites saw slowdowns or were simply unavailable, especially among exit-poll reports that Kerry was leading. Wonkette and Slate were both down for long periods in the afternoon.

    Not that we're complaining about traffic, mind you.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:38 AM

    Color war: reds and blues 

    Bush was the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of private-sector jobs, says Dick Polman, of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also had to defend a war that was based on rationales that were subsequently undercut by U.S. weapons inspectors and the 9/11 commission.

    And that helps to explain why, as in 2000, he had to fight a Democratic rival for every last vote; and why, in the quest for a thumbs-up referendum on his tenure, he was forced to contend last night with the same racial, geographic and cultural schisms that marked his first election.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:39 AM

    Too soon to tell about other things, too 

    Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press says it's too soon to tell whether we'll be able to forget our partisan differences aside and allow ourselves to be led:

    "Can we put aside the anger, mistrust and fear that fueled possibly record numbers of voters for this election? Can we turn down the burners that boiled emotions, torched dinner conversations and turned neighbor against neighbor?

    "For here was an election that was as divisive as a tribal feud. People didn't offer their positions, they declared them. They didn't argue their points, they hollered them. They didn't suggest their candidate was right, they insisted it."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:11 AM

    On second thought ... 

    We get less than a month of regular annoying TV ads before the annoying Christmas TV ads begin.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:59 AM

    ... and I approved this message 

    Best part of the day after, regardless of which candidate you supported: No more TV ads!

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:49 AM

    The heart of it all, indeed 

    Our colleague on Ohioblog, Steve Love, was busy Tuesday night and signed off at 6:20 a.m. All along he's been saying Ohio would be the next Florida and, whaddya know, he was right.

    From July 22: "By any definition, Ohio is the heart of the 2004 presidential campaign. No one thinks otherwise, especially not the candidates - Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards. They're going to be around so much they may have to file state income tax returns. (Hey, we could use the money - maybe for schools.)"

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:33 AM

    Is anyone awake? Or not yet asleep? 

    Morning shift reporting for duty!

    Looks like that might be the closest we'll get to another salute.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:16 AM

    We can't call the election, but we can call it a night 

    So it's down to Iowa and New Mexico, where the final results won't come until later this morning, and Ohio, where heaven knows what all is going on, and it's getting late even for a night owl on the Pacific side. The morning crew will be signing on in a while, and I'll be back to help sort through the entrails in the afternoon.

    posted by John Murrell at 5:03 AM

    Bad miss, wide left 

    If anybody feels worse than the Democrats this morning, it's the pollsters at Zogby International. In fact, one of the reasons some Democrats feel so bad is the early euphoria stirred by Zogby at 5 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, when it summoned all its resources and expertise and made its final call on the electoral vote:

    Kerry -- 311
    Bush -- 213
    Nevada and Colorado, too close to call

    posted by John Murrell at 4:26 AM

    Trust us, we won 

    From AP: "President Bush will declare re-election victory, aides said Wednesday morning, as Democratic rival John Kerry refused to concede linchpin Ohio or the presidency."

    posted by John Murrell at 3:49 AM

    Buckle up 

    In case there was any doubt, John Edwards made it clear that if it comes down to it, the Democrats are prepared for hand-to-hand combat, legally speaking. "John Kerry and I have made a promise to the American people that with this election every vote would count and every vote would be counted," he told supporters in the wee hours. "Tonight we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote."

    In preparation for a worst case scenario, a few more bookmarks: Election Central at the University of Pittsburgh Law School; the Election Law blog maintained by Rick Hasen; and the federal election law links kept by FindLaw.

    posted by John Murrell at 3:34 AM

    This year's chads 

    Well, CNN has invented a new color for the electoral map and painted Ohio green, for too close to call. The buzz is growing over the potential importance of provisional ballots, which by law will not be counted for 11 days. Time to add an election law site to the bookmarks.

    The network is also reporting that because of mechanical problems and "fatigue," some vote counters in Iowa have called it quits for the night and won't certify a winner until morning.

    posted by John Murrell at 1:53 AM


    The call hasn't been made yet, but the rumblings out of Ohio are favoring Bush and the TV talking heads are already doing postmortems on Kerry's campaign. Ballgame?

    posted by John Murrell at 1:13 AM

    Not quite as close this time 

    Florida makes itself reasonably clear reasonably early this year and lines up with the president. All eyes now on Ohio, where you can watch the raw numbers pile up here.

    posted by John Murrell at 1:10 AM

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    Toward a freer-pouring South Carolina 

    Through the mists of uncertainty that remain tonight shines a beacon of clarity: The tyranny of the minibottle is over in South Carolina. For about 10 years, the Palmetto State, in an effort to make getting a drink in public as annoying and expensive as possible, has banned bars and restaurants from pouring out of anything but the minibottles you see on airlines. This requirement inadvertently required South Carolina to serve the stiffest drinks in the country, minibottles holding 1.7 ounces of booze versus the standard 1.25. With the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, voters today gave lawmakers the right to change the law, which they are expected to do next year.

    posted by John Murrell at 11:31 PM

    Keystone for Kerry 

    Sitting in the dark 

    After a comprehensive survey of broadcast media and the Web, I can give you this up-to-the-second report: We know nothing. All the states getting filled in with red and blue are doing exactly what they were expected to do. On the critical races, there are numbers, but you can't put any stock in them. The blogosphere is churning in place. The best thing on TV at the moment is the Rev. Al Sharpton lobbing jocular grenades at the good-natured former governor of Massachusetts, William Weld, on "The Daily Show."

    posted by John Murrell at 10:35 PM

    Poll dancing 

    As you're listening to the networks' references to polling data, exit and otherwise, and find you need some perspective on how the numbers are gathered and what they mean, check Mark Blumenthal's excellent Mystery Pollster site.

    posted by John Murrell at 9:27 PM

    Everybody's got a story 

    If you're interested in first-person accounts of voting across the country, more than 300 people have posted their experiences under How'd Your Vote Go? at

    posted by John Murrell at 9:10 PM

    A rags-to-Senate saga 

    Welcome Barack Obama to the halls of the U.S. Senate. The rising star from Illinois who created a sensation at the Democratic Convention easily beat Republican Alan Keyes and becomes only the third black senator since Reconstruction.

    posted by John Murrell at 8:36 PM

    And don't yell "Hi, Jack" at the airport 

    Steve "Captain Steve" Soboroff, obligatory wacky DJ at KCJJ in Iowa City, playfully told listeners today that because of the record number of voters, Democrats will vote on Tuesday and Republicans on Wednesday Thursday and Friday. "It was said in jest; it was very apparent that it was said in jest. I also said that Republicans were charging 5 and a quarter at the polls for the pencils to fill in the ballots," said a chuckling Soboroff. Local Republicans failed to see the joke and have filed an ethics complaint.

    posted by John Murrell at 8:17 PM

    A Reason to Feel Good  

    New voters got a warm welcome at New Avenues to Independence, a sheltered workshop that housed the polls for three precincts on Cleveland's East Side. Every 20 minutes or so, a poll worker would call out, ‘‘We have a first-time voter,'' drawing applause from the crowded gymnasium.

    -- Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau

    posted by Lori Aratani at 7:52 PM

    This way to the egress 

    The networks may be gun-shy (with good reason) about running with exit-poll data, but Slate has no compunctions about posting them as they arrive, trusting readers to bring their own grains of salt.

    posted by John Murrell at 7:50 PM

    Michael Moore, just a citizen with a posse 

    From our Ohio sources comes word that filmmaker Michael Moore created a stir by showing up at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

    Moore, engulfed by reporters as he tried to make his way through the lobby, said he was in the Cleveland area in a watchdog role. He had marshalled a crew of about 1,200 people -- about 300 in Ohio, 600 in Florida and the rest scattered elsewhere -- to film possible instances of voter fraud or abuse. Some were outfitted with home video cameras; others toted professional equipment.

    Moore said his crews had found no evidence of wrongdoing in Ohio. ‘‘What I've seen here so far isn't official abuse, it's neglect,'' he said, referring to the insufficient number of voting booths in many precincts.

    The footage, he said, would be made available to reporters and turned over to federal authorities.

    ‘‘I'm not making a movie,'' he said. ‘‘I'm here as a citizen to stand up for the right to vote.''

    posted by John Murrell at 7:23 PM

    Don't take that "anybody" thing literally 

    Even that segment of the electorate that proudly wears the Anybody But Bush label probably has its limits. Not being George Bush has probably done nothing for the campaign of candidates like Jack Grimes, who proposes to establish a fascist dictatorship based on the teachings of Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein and would rely on telepathy and astrology to help him make his decisions. Or Sterling Allan, who found his inspiration to run in his own alphabetic deciphering of the Bible. Or Randy Crow, who among other woes has suffered from one of those darn computer chips the government keeps secretly implanting in people. Nonetheless, all have been endorsed by a Higher Power.

    posted by John Murrell at 7:05 PM

    Giving Everyone a Voice 

    The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Megan Boldt offers this touching Election Day story:

    Susan Raffo sought help for a voting demographic Tuesday that doesn't get a lot of attention: The young and homeless.

    Raffo, development director of YouthLink, a Minneapolis-based group that provides services for homeless and at-risk youth, said she had an overwhelming response to an e-mail sent out earlier in the day looking for volunteers to vouch for homeless youth so they could cast their ballots.

    Get the full story here.

    Gives new meaning to the saying "every vote counts."

    posted by Lori Aratani at 6:52 PM

    Ready, set. . . vote! 

    Voters at a precinct in northwest Charlotte, N.C. waited patiently and good-humoredly for an hour-plus to vote today. Once the line snaked its way to the actual voting machines, the action sped up considerably: A sign announced that each voter had up to 5 minutes to fill in the four-page ballot.
    posted by lk at 6:24 PM

    Shaking the family (bush) tree 

    Jeanny House, President Bush's second cousin, is busy working the polls in her home town in Wisconsin today. She wants her cousin out of the White House.

    She appears to have company. House and seven other second cousins have a Web site - - touting their opposition to a Bush second term. They are all descendants of George W.'s great aunt, Mary Bush, who is the sister of Prescott Bush, who is the father of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.

    Here's House's story, as told to me in an e-mail:

    "Toward the end of last May, I went to see John Kerry at a rally in Green Bay, Wis. I was able to get quite close to the front, even though there were 2,000-3,000 people. When Kerry finished speaking, he worked the barricade line, shaking hands. When he came near me, I said, "Senator Kerry, there's something I want to tell you. George Bush is my second cousin, and I'm behind you all the way." He stopped, did a double take, and asked what the relationship was. I said that our grandparents were siblings. He said, "Wow, that's close." I said that many of my cousins felt the same way. He jokingly said, "Maybe we should start a 'Bush Relatives for Kerry' group." I gave him a card with my name and address, which he handed to an aide, and he moved on. I heard nothing from the Kerry campaign after that.

    "I told the story to my cousin, Sheila House. She told her sister, Hilary. Hilary loved it and immediately checked to see if the domain was available. It was. She asked us for testimonials and, a few weeks ago, the site went up."

    posted by Jim Kuhnhenn at 5:21 PM

    Signing on from California 

    Joining you for the duration from the Left Coast, I'm John Murrell from, fresh from doing my civic duty at the rec hall of a nearby mobile home park here in lovely Milpitas, Calif., where there was a line for the first time I recall.

    At my precinct, poll workers did offer the choice of paper or plastic (the card that you slip into an e-voting machine), and even being steeped in the debate over the electronic machines (see the recent e-voting roundtable on our site), I was on the fence. Then, just ahead of me, I saw three poll workers and a voter huddled around a balky machine, and I said, "Paper, please." The setup sort of made a sham of the traditional privacy trappings. Those who chose paper all sat together at a couple of long tables in the middle of the room (not that I'd mind if somebody cribbed off my ballot).

    Of course, privacy wasn't exactly sacrosanct at the machines, where my significant other cast her vote. She had intentionally chosen not to vote in a few races. A poll worker looking over her shoulder noticed, stepped in and, despite her protestations, clicked back through every page of her marked ballot until he grasped her intent. Trying to be helpful, I'm sure, but one just doesn't like company in the booth.

    posted by John Murrell at 5:20 PM

    Got Cash? 

    Got a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket? Wanna support your favorite presidential candidate? It's not too late ...

    Just in case we don't have a winner tonight and the country enters the recount zone -- you can donate some cash (they'll take credit cards too) to the campaign defense funds.

    On the GOP side, it's the Bush/Cheney '04 Compliance Committee; for the Democrats, it's the Kerry-Edwards General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund (totally rolls of the tongue, eh?) Both funds are designed to fund legal challenges related to recounts, lawsuits, etc.

    Then again, you could just invest those $$$$ in a new pair of Manolos ... think of it as another way to support your local economy ..

    posted by Lori Aratani at 5:07 PM

    Exit polls 

    Not that we can get into - it's either pummeled by traffic or downright down - but rumor has it that its early exit polls slightly favor Kerry.

    Exit polls are notoriously not very accurate and we still have a couple of hours until the polls close, but it just shows how close the candidates really are.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 4:33 PM

    Last-minute ruling in Ohio 

    Ohio voters who did not receive absentee ballots on time can cast provisional ballots at the polls, a federal judge in Toledo ruled Tuesday.

    The decision by U.S. District Court Judge David Katz reverses an earlier directive by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell who said the voters could not cast provisional ballots despite not receiving their absentee ballots.

    This means that some voters turned away from the polls this morning should go back and vote.

    Meanwhile, at 3 p.m., some voters in Stark County, Ohio, were waiting on line for THREE HOURS!

    It's a wonder anyone makes it into work.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 4:22 PM

    The show must go on 

    All this watching and waiting and wondering if we'll have a president-elect today - or this week - is reminiscent of an old Mary Tyler Moore election episode. "The snow must go on" originally aired on Nov. 7, 1970 - election week - and has Mary and her newsroom pals working on a mayoral election night.

    The teletype machine types goes out the first results of the evening - Turner 85, Mitchell 23 - before a major snowstorm hits and takes the machine out with it. The rest of the night, everyone tries to fill in the broadcast - Rhoda, Ted, a priest who is there for an entirely different reason. Finally, Chuckles the Clown shows up, says the roads have been cleared and, in full red-nose-and-large-shoes regalia, delievers the outcome of the race.

    Not unlike today's bloggers desperate to write something about an election still too close to call. :)

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:48 PM

    Procrastinator alert! 

    There's the New Year's Eve countdown clock, then there was the deficit clock ... now -- especially for Election Day 2004 -- meet CNN's "1st poll closing" clock.

    Those tuning in to the cable news giant will be able to see exactly how much time before the first polls close. And if you're a procrastinator, this will give you the opportunity to wait until the VERY last minute ...

    4 ... 3 ... 2 ...

    posted by Lori Aratani at 3:39 PM

    10 Days?! 

    During an interview this morning on CNN, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft acknowledged provisional ballots cast by people whose voting rights are questioned by poll challengers could delay the results of the election.

    ``It is possible we won't know the outcome in Ohio for a period of 10 days,'' he said.

    For more details, click here

    posted by Lori Aratani at 3:39 PM

    Can you get a degree from the Electoral College? 

    The Electoral College is a mysterious system. Theoretically, there can be a tie. We could, potentially, wind up with a president from one party and a vice president from another. And of course there's that whole popular vote vs. electoral vote thing.

    Want to learn more? Check out the National Archives and Records Administration's FAQ.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:54 PM

    Guam goes for Bush 

    We already have one state, umm ..., territory reporting and Bush won it. The president took Guam with 17,264 votes vs. John Kerry with 9,540. Ralph Nader had 153 and Campagna Badnarik 53.

    Apparently, though, it doesn't mean much. The Electoral College system only counts the votes of states, not territories.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:46 PM

    Predict the swing state winners 

    The Campaign Extra! blog is running a contest to predict the winners of the swing states. Just copy the list of states into a window and put a R or D (or B or K, if you prefer) next to each state. The winner gets a T-shirt and a mention in the Philadelphia Daily News.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:25 PM

    Every vote counts 

    The Florida Poll Watch is reporting that many people are voting for the first time, especially after the debacle of their state in 2000.

    "I never thought that it mattered, when I seen in 2000 that it does matter," said Derrell Davis, 24, a Duval County customer service representative who cast a vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry.

    "I feel like I was one of the victims," Davis said, despite the fact that she did not vote in 2000.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:09 PM

    A vote for Candidate X might be a vote for Candidate Y 

    We're seeing evidence that Florida and Ohio are as problematic as we hoped they wouldn't be.

    In Broward County, Fla., problems include malfunctioning polling machines.

    One of the five voting machines at Precinct 31-E in Coral Springs was shutdown at about 10:30 a.m. because of calibration problems.

    "What that basically means is that when a voter presses the box next to a candidate the machine, it's possible the machine will register a different candidate," said Carl Fowler, Emergency Operations Center spokesman.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:38 PM

    Which way to Space Mountain? 

    It's like waiting for a ride at Disney World. That's how one woman described the long wait in the cold and rain to vote in St. Paul, Minn.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:33 PM

    Powder really was salt, police say 

    Call off the anthrax-sniffing dogs (if such dogs exist). The cops in Mount Laurel, N.J., say the white powder someone threw in the school/polling place really was salt.

    Voting was disrupted at 9 a.m. and resumed two hours later.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:28 PM

    Drudge really was wrong, DA says 

    Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham refuted Drudge Report reports of 2,000 bonus votes in voting machines.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:26 PM

    Sometimes it doesn't pay to be first 

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a great photo (registration required) of two men waiting in the wee hours for the polls to open. The punchline: They thought they were first on line, but it turned out they were waiting at the wrong entrance.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:25 PM

    Voting is out of this world ..  

    This from the Associated Press: Space station astronaut Leroy Chiao became the first American to vote for president from space, casting an encrypted ballot via e-mail and urging fellow countrymen to go to the polls Tuesday.

    "It was just a small thing for me, but it is important symbolically to show that every vote does count," said Chiao, 44, from the international space station a few hours after the polls opened 225 miles below

    His ballot traveled via a secure e-mail connection to Mission Control in Houston, which forwarded it to the Galveston County clerk's office in Texas, where Chiao normally resides. Chiao, however, declined to say which candidate got his vote.

    Only one other American has voted before from space: astronaut David Wolf aboard Russia's Mir space station in 1997, thanks to a state law signed that year by Texas' then-governor - President Bush. The 1997 ballot included the Houston mayoral race, other city offices and local issues.

    Ain't technology grand?

    posted by Lori Aratani at 1:23 PM

    That white powder? 

    We hear it's salt. So says Philly's NBC 10. Don't see it on their Web site yet, though.

    One question: Is salt a powder?

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:21 PM

    Poll woes? 

    On Michael Moore's Election Watch 2004 blog, "Mike's Keyboard Army," can post incidences of voting irregularity they've witnessed. Click on any state - color coded much like the terror alerts as far as severity of problems - to see what readers are reporting.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:16 PM

    Commissioner denies Drudge report 

    According to the Campaign Extra! blog, the Drudge Report was wrong about voting hanky panky in Philly:

    Dep. City Commissioner Ed Schlugen stood up just now and announced that there were NOT votes on the machines. The poll workers were looking at a counter on the back which tallies the total number of votes cast - ever - on the machine. It's called a "protective counter." He said there were no votes on the machines when they opened.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:09 PM

    Even nuns have to prove they're registered 

    The lines are long, and not just at the polling places. In Camden County, N.J., the lines are long at court, where people are standing up for their right to vote.

    Between 7 and 10 a.m., 50 people stood up before Superior Court Judge Frederick J. Schuck to prove they were registered. Among them were nuns Kathleen Aherne, 64, and Judith Terrameo, 55, who planned to vote this morning in Haddonfield but couldn't because there was no record they had registered. They didn't tell the judge that they are both Franciscan nuns, but he believed them anyhow and they were granted the right to vote.

    Dorothy Steward, a 29-year veteran at the Camden County Superintendent of Elections office, said she had never seen so many people battle to try to vote. In the last presidential race, about 30 people sought judicial orders over the entire day.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:49 AM

    Waiting with walkers 

    No one likes waiting on line to vote, but it's even worse for older workers. In Miami, some voters showed up with walkers and some couldn't make it through the lines, according to Miami-Dade Poll Watch. In some cases, portable voting machines were taken to a an elderly person's car so they could vote.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:36 AM

    Opening up the polls 

    In North Carolina, reader Jon Goldberg showed up at the polls at 6:15 a.m. and was number 11 when voting started at 6:30. Polling workers told him it was unheard of to have people waiting on line before the polls open.

    Hourlong waits are commonplace among his friends in the Raleigh-Durham area.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:25 AM

    White powder closes polls 

    Long lines, kids in school, passions are high. To add to that, this morning someone threw a white powder into Fleetwood Elementary School in Mount Laurel, N.J., and then fled.

    Needless to say, the school was evacuated, the polls were closed and a hazmat truck, several fire trucks and police cars showed up.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:17 AM

    Margin of error 

    On If John Kerry wins, I will happily join the band of Republicans opposing him at every turn. If the President wins, I will happily join the band of Republicans opposing him at (nearly) every turn.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:11 AM

    Maybe voting late is the answer 

    Philadelphia reader Marc Butakis reports that he was met with an hourlong line when he showed up to vote at 7:15 a.m. - 15 minutes after the polls opened. At 8:15, when he signed in to vote, he was number 76 out of approximately 1,000 potential voters in his district.

    "When I left, I would estimate that there were at least 150 people waiting in line behind me," he said. "My best guess is that 25% of the precinct will have voted by 9:30 a.m."

    We wonder if there will still be lines at the normally busy post-work hours.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:56 AM

    Speaking Spanglish 

    Kerry and Bush, both hoping for that Hispanic vote, tested their language skills on Sabado Gigante (registration required), a popular Spanish-language show. The results were ... umm ... interesting.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:43 AM


    The Drudge Report is reporting that before the polls opened in Philadelphia this morning, 2000 votes were already found in the voting machines throughout the city.

    Pennsylvania does not have early voting.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:37 AM

    Should've slept out 

    Fifteen minutes before the polls opened, at 5:45 a.m., 30 people in one Kansas City, Mo., location were waiting outside to vote. At 6:17 at another polling place, the line was out the door.

    "Hey," said a woman arriving at the end of the line, "this is what democracy looks like."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:31 AM

    Can you put a price on democracy? 

    Yes - $4 billion. That's the price of the 2004 elections, and not the final price either.

    That's not even counting the ballots, poll workers and lawyers. Congressional and presidential candidates alone devoted at least $1.8 billion to their primary and general election campaigns, with about one-third of that spent by Bush and Kerry.

    It also went out in dribs and drabs, often large dribs and drabs. Howard Dean spent nearly $7,000 on "thank you" chocolates for donors.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:21 AM

    Florida ... need we say more? 

    The Miami-Dade Poll Watch reports that some voters have been turned away at the polls. And, yes, the attorneys are already on the case.

    In Broward County, people says voting is worth the wait.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:04 AM

    Still more evidence 

    Someone we know voted this morning in Old City Philadelphia, where the line at the polls was FOUR BLOCKS LONG!

    Another person was number 200 of 900 registered voters at her Philly polling place - at 9 a.m. Two volunteers from - one from New York State, the other from Washington State - stopped by to ask if voters needed help and to make sure the voting machines were OK.

    A colleague who, in off-years, is usually one of the first to vote at 7:20 a.m., had to leave the polls without voting at 6:55 a.m.; the lines were too long and he had to get his son to school.

    Another saw several people leave when they saw the long lines. At 8 a.m., he was number 400 in his suburban New Jersey polling place.

    Yet another, in bucolic Bucks County, Pa., Philadelphia suburbs, found 300 people divided among two lines when she showed up at 8 a.m.

    Heard on local Philly TV news: some polling lines are already TWO HOURS LONG!

    We haven't seen this much voting excitement since American Idol.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:32 AM

    Play ball 

    The Red Sox, i.e., Kerry's team, broke the curse of the Bambino and won theh 2004 World Series. The Redskins lost to the Packers this weekend. Apparently, if the Redskins win, the incumbent president does as well. The Kerry-Edwards blog points to an impressive history of that phenomenon.

    Hard to know what this means. Will Kerry win because the Packers won? Or if the Red Sox broke the curse, can the Redskins reaction change, too?

    Stay tuned.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:25 AM

    No one wants the scoop 

    Lost Remote reports that for a change, no one wants to be first to call the presidency. No newspaper or TV station wants to have to retract their announcement, a la Bush vs. Gore in 2000.

    See also: Dewey beats Truman, the Chicago Tribune's famous blunder in 1948.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:08 AM

    More evidence of early voting 

    Another one of our colleagues, in suburban Philadelphia, voted at 8 a.m. The polls had been open for an hour and already 10 percent of her precinct had voted.

    Democratic poll watchers were taking the names of Dems who had voted so they could call the missing people and get them to the polls later in the day.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:55 AM

    Investigative voting 

    Steve Love said he's closing up shop at Ohioblog today so he can do some investigative voting. "Someone has to see what's going on at the polls since U.S. District Judge Paul Matia of Cleveland denied the media access," he says.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:09 AM

    Guide to the talking heads 

    The cast of characters on election morning TV, according to Wonkette: Teresa Heinz-Kerry, rich widow; Matthew Dowd, chief worrier; Joe Lockhart, pasty-faced large person.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:48 AM

    The year in review 

    If you're still undecided - and time is running out fast - Electablog offers a cheat sheet, a year in review of campaign moves.

    Cue a recording of Barbra Streisand singing "Memories" (or the Republican equivalent; we can't think this early in the morning what that might be), while we remind you that in January, Dean screamed (could it really have been so long ago?); in March, Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race, only to reappear later in the second slot; in May, we first heard about Abu Ghraib; in July, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey revealed that he was a "gay American"; in September, Cat Stevens was deported ...

    ... and we're still wondering if Kucinich ever officially dropped out of the race.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:32 AM

    Early morning and the lines are long 

    The polls opened at 6 a.m. in several states and, according to someone calling him/herself DemFromCT writing on Daily Kos, "there were lines around the Middle School auditorium that I haven't seen in 15 years."

    At my polling place, a middle school in suburban New Jersey, the wait was 20 minutes at 6 a.m., with the last names beginning A through G showing up in particularly large numbers. Most of the people looked full awake, coiffed and ready to go to work.

    The polls opened at 7 a.m. in Philadelphia, and at 7:15 in Center City, our colleague was number 35 to vote, with 15 people in line behind him.

    People really are voting early - and perhaps often.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 7:09 AM

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    A correspondent's gotta do ...  

    Television network correspondents aboard Bush's campaign plane were nervous Monday because a three-hour flight from Milwaukee to Albuquerque, New Mexico, was rubbing against their nightly new deadlines and they hadn't recorded sound to go along with their reports.

    Out of options, the intrepid crews of ABC, CBS and NBC lined the tiny forward restroom aboard the press plane with blankets and converted it into a sound studio. One by one, ABC's Terry Moran, CBS's Bill Plante and NBC's David Gregory went into the John and did their business, so to speak. By the time the plane landed in New Mexico, their soundtracks were ready to be fed to their networks.

    - William Douglas, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau

    posted by Lori Aratani at 10:43 PM

    A case of the sillies 

    The final hours of a presidential campaign when the silly season begins, when the unexpected happens and when every little thing is scrutinized and analyzed to determine who has the edge and who is on the edge.

    Here in Camp Bush, the president's re-election team broke out their case of the sillies Sunday night. In the spirit of Halloween, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, political guru Karl Rove and others in the Bush senior staff bounded off Air Force One in hunting camouflage gear, similar to the outfit Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry went hunting.

    One reporter aboard the Bush press charter stuffed a bulky computer chord down his suit jacket for his Halloween costume: Bush at the first presidential debate where he had the curious bulge in the back.

    Bush supporters picked up on the Halloween theme Sunday and Monday, often chanting Kerry's scary, a battle cry that's become just as popular as the trusty "Flip-flop, flip-flop."

    From the "No Child Left Behind" department: After Bush finished speaking in Burgettstown, Pa., he climbed into his limo and his lengthy motorcade began a speedy journey to the airport. Unfortunately one of the vans, called Wire One because it holds wire service reporters and photographers, blew a tire and was forced to the side of the road. The van behind it - Press One because it holds newspaper and magazine writers and photogs - had to make a choice: Do we stop and pick up our journalist brothers and sisters or continue in the motorcade at warp speed to the airport.

    The decision? Let's just say there were some angry people left along side of the road. They were eventually picked up by another van in the procession called "Straggler." Everyone made it back to Air Force One on time.

    There was almost a dueling battle of the motorcades in Milwaukee where both Bush and Kerry had rallies Monday. The presidential motorcade pulled up to the airport gate just as Kerry's motorcade was pulling out of the same gate. Kerry's red, white and blue plane was parked close to the Bush campaign press plane, a non-descript metallic silver and blue bird.

    Bush and Kerry reporters waved at each other as their campaign buses literally passed by each other.

    Tidy Bowl Humor?: Vice President Cheney, known for his dour demeanor, can sure zing 'em when he wants to. Speaking at a rally in Henderson, Nev., the veep noted that he was in the company of Nevada Sen. John Ensign and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

    "And of course, we've got John Ensign -- Senator John Ensign with us here today," Cheney said. "And when people say "flush the Johns," they don't mean these two."

    "I'm sorry it's the last day of the campaign," Cheney quickly added. "What do you expect?"

    By William Douglas, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau

    posted by Lori Aratani at 7:14 PM

    The party that wouldn't end ... 

    The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity released this intriguing report Monday -- something to consider just in case we don't have a winner come Wednesday morning.

    Apparently, the John Kerry campaign is well financed to pursue any recounts that might result from Tuesday's voting. The Center reports that Kerry may have a $24.8 million advantage over President George W. Bush, according to the campaigns' most recent financial filings.

    Under Federal Election Commission rules, both candidates can use remaining funds from their primary election committees to pay for recount activities. In Kerry's case that amounts to just under $45 million, compared to just more than $16 million left over in the Bush/Cheney primary election committee's coffers.

    Who would have ever thought there'd be a day when we'd need a special fund just for recounts? Thanks a lot -- Florida!

    posted by Lori Aratani at 5:58 PM

    Whether weather? 

    Here's an intriguing spot for some information on whether weather has an affect on voter turnout. Judge for yourself!

    posted by Lori Aratani at 5:06 PM

    Bring your umbrellas! 

    The Weather Channel is predicting a wet Election Day for much of the south and northeast on Tuesday but other places will be basking in sunshine and mild temperatures.

    Some key states: Milwaukee, partly cloudy with highs in the 50s; Denver, sunny with a high of 50 degrees as well; Miami, partly cloudy with a high of 86 degrees; Philadelphia, mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain, high of 62 degrees; Akron, 67 degrees with an 80 percent chance of rain.

    Weather could be a factor some say -- but then again, this year lots of things could be factor. Check out this link for updated information.

    Also, remember -- in many critical states -- Iowa and Florida are two examples -- many folks have already cast their ballots. But the vast majority of folks will still be heading to the polls in what pundits are insisting with be a too-close-to-call race for the White House.

    Last minute get-out-the-vote efforts are being launched by both sides. In California, which is expected to land in the John Kerry column, organizers are urging folks to hop in their cars and head to Nevada, where it's estimated that more than 80,000 folks don't have phone service so will need to be reached in person, door-to-door.

    You can bet on one thing: if we have a winner come Wednesday morning -- the weather will be great where ever he is.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 4:08 PM

    Fun with foodstuffs 

    So we've got the Redskins theory, the Dow Jones theory and Bobblehead doll theory of predicting a presidential winner. You can now add to that the 7-Eleven coffee theory.

    The chain is offering voters a chance to register their presidential preference by offering them a choice of to-go coffee cups: George W. Bush or John Kerry.

    "The election's in your hands. Cast your "vote" for Bush, Kerry or an independent with every cup of freshly brewed coffee you buy at 7-Eleven. Final poll results to be posted on November 2, 2004, " the promotion reads. (It also notes this isn't a scientific poll for those who may have been wondering)

    As of Oct. 29, Bush cups were outselling Kerry cups 51 percent to 49 percent -- but it ain't over till it's over, after all.

    You doubting Thomas' should note: during California's infamous gubernatorial recall election, Taco Bell ran a similar promotion where Golden State residents could register their electoral preference by ordering tacos, chalupas or grilled, stuffed burritos. The winner in a landslide: none other than Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 2:19 PM

    If it's Monday it must be Madison ...  

    If it's 5:20 p.m. (ET) than we must be in Sioux City -- that is if you're George W. Bush, who plans to rally there this evening.

    Between them -- Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards -- have 22 events scheduled in 13 different states today -- and that doesn't count appearances by wives, children and other surrogates. Cheney, fresh from his visit to the suddenly-in-play Aloha State gets to stop at home briefly for an 11:20 p.m. (ET) rally in Jackson Hole.

    Star report: the Oak Ridge Boys will appear with Bush in Wisconsin; Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling also joined the president on the trail; Bruce Springsteen (who seems to be having a rockin' good time) is slated to appear with Kerry in Cleveland. Stevie Wonder will share the stage with the Masschusette Senator in Detroit. Jimmy Buffet meets up with Edwards in Pompano Beach, Florida.

    Oh and for those keeping track: Ralph Nader is in New York.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 1:26 PM

    Thoughts on turnout 

    Conventional wisdom says high turnout is good for the Democrats, but in this topsy turvy election year, it's anyone's guess what might happen.

    One thing we can be sure of: folks can expect to see even more photos of anxious voters lining up to cast their ballots. In Florida, which offers early voting, some people have been willing to wait as long as two hours to be sure they get their say.

    It sounds like record turnout all around.

    In California, the secretary of state is predicting a 73 percent voter turnout. Swing state Ohio - where voters probably will be happy to resume television commercials that hawk cereal and cold medicine, rather than either George W. Bush or John Kerry - voter turnout is also likely to hit 73 percent. In Wisconsin, officials are expecting 75 percent of the voters to cast ballots.

    Overall, it looks like 58 to 60 percent of registered voters will turn out this year. Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, says that translates to 118 million to 120 million Americans. In 2000, 54 percent, or 106 million of registered voters cast their ballots.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 11:35 AM

    Auspicious ears? 

    Seems as if everyone is searching the skies for a sign of who might emerge victorious come Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday) depending on your point of view. The newest theory to emerge comes hot on the heels of the Washington Redskins' Sunday loss. Seems that bodes well for challenger John Kerry - a Redskins win on Sunday would have translated to a victory for George W. Bush. The last Redskins home game before the election has proven pivitol, with a 15-0 success rate, according to ABC Sports.

    In the meantime, on the West Coast, the San Jose Mercury News turned to four well-regarded Asian fortunetellers for their take on the presidential contest.

    "In many Asian countries, divination is a respected calling. Important financial and personal decisions are often made in consultation with soothsayers, who are addressed as 'masters' and 'teachers.' Unlike Western fortunetellers who read tarot cards and palms, many Asian prognosticators specialize in reading faces," writes reporter K. Oanh Ha.

    Bush has "auspicious ears," says one. Kerry's "long and graceful" nose means he can sniff out problems says another.

    As for who the tellers say might win? Check it out for yourself.

    posted by Lori Aratani at 10:32 AM

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    Boo! It's a politician 

    Sen. John Kerry poked his head into the press cabin of his campaign plane tonight, remarking on the plastic bats hanging over the doorways and the lighted skeleton over the bar as well as the flight attendants' orange-and-black witch outfits. "You guys look great," Kerry said with a broad grin.

    (Aside: What would Bill Clinton have said? Grrrrr.)

    Asked what he was dressed as, Kerry shrugged. "My costume is future president - I don't know."

    Kerry was puzzled, turning to a flight attendant. "I was looking for my pumpkins," he said, referring to the gourds he purchased in Ohio earlier in the month. Apparently the candidate was unaware that the FAA had cited the charter company for "unsecured pumpkins" and ordered them removed. "I got them so we could carve them and have them tonight - jack-o-lanterns," Kerry said.

    It's probably just as well. Would the Secret Service have allowed knives around a possible president?

    posted by Thomas Fitzgerald at 10:07 PM

    Omens rule; pollsters drool 

    Could professional sports augur any better for Kerry? The Massachusetts senator, no slouch in the superstition racket, is on quite a streak. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and Kerry practically ran the table during the primaries.

    Then the Boston Red Sox won the World Series after making an historic comeback against the Hated Yankess to win the American League pennant. The end of the Curse of the Bambino was a supersize metaphor for the Kerry campaign.

    Sunday was the Redskins-Green Bay Packers game.

    Some history here. Since 1932, every time the Redskins (or their predecessors) have lost the game before Election Day, the party in the White House has lost. Everytime they've won that pre-election game, the incumbent party has wons. That's 17 presidential elections

    So picking sides was pretty simple. Bush for the Redskins; Kerry for the Packers (even though he once called the storied Lambeax Field "Lambert Field")Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, a strong Bush backer, had a double stake in the game.

    Final score: Packers 28, Redskins 14.

    The Packers victory was enough to prompt a quick e-mail to reporters from the campaign, with the requisite Kerry quote. This even though Kerry told Knight Ridder on Friday that he wasn't too concerned about the outcome becuase the Red Sox win had wiped away all other curses, omens, portents and premonitions.

    “This streak started with Herbert Hoover, and will continue this week when George Bush, the only president since Hoover to lose jobs, loses his," Kerry said in a statement.

    Here's the decades old record, thanks to the Green Bay Press Gazette:
    2000: Tennessee 27, Redskins 21... Democrats lose White House (George W. Bush defeats Al Gore)

    1996: Redskins 31, Indianapolis 16… Democrats keep it (Bill Clinton defeats Bob Dole)

    1992: New York Giants 24, Redskins 7… Republicans lose it (Clinton defeats George H.W. Bush)

    1988: Redskins 27, New Orleans 24… Republicans keep it (Bush defeats Michael Dukakis)

    1984: Redskins 27, Atlanta 14… Republicans keep it (Ronald Reagan defeats Walter Mondale)

    1980: Minnesota 39, Redskins 14… Democrats lose it (Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter)

    1976: Dallas 20, Redskins 7… Republicans lose it (Carter defeats Gerald Ford)

    1972: Redskins 35, New York Jets 17… Republicans keep it (Richard Nixon defeats George McGovern)

    1968: Minnesota 27, Redskins 13… Democrats lose it (Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey)

    1964: Redskins 21, Philadelphia 10… Democrats keep it (Lyndon Johnson defeats Barry Goldwater)

    1960: Cleveland 31, Redskins 10… Republicans lose it (John Kennedy defeats Nixon)

    1956: Redskins 17, Chicago Cardinals 14… Republicans keep it (Dwight Eisenhower defeats Adlai Stevenson)

    1952: Pittsburgh 24, Redskins 23… Democrats lose it (Eisenhower defeats Stevenson)

    1948: Redskins 51, Boston Yanks 21… Democrats keep it (Harry Truman defeats Thomas Dewey)

    1944: Redskins 42, Chi-Pitt 20… Democrats keep it (Franklin Roosevelt defeats Dewey)

    1940: Washington Redskins 37, Pittsburgh 10… Democrats keep it (Roosevelt defeats Wendell Willkie)

    1936: Boston Redskins 13, Chicago Cardinals 10… Democrats keep it (Roosevelt defeats Alfred Landon)

    1932: Boston Braves 7, Chicago Bears 7… Republicans lose it (Roosevelt defeats Herbert Hoover)

    posted by Jim Kuhnhenn at 9:03 PM

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