Thursday, November 09, 2006

Voter Turnout

The official voter-turnout count in South Dakota for Tuesday is 67.2%--a good number, by modern standards, but neither a record nor the 72% that Secretary of State Chris Nelson was guessing at.

Nelson's guess, and that of others who predicted lines around the block, was based on an odd bit of reasoning, to wit: The number of absentee ballots taken out before the election (well, of course: they don't let you vote after the election) was higher than usual, therefore overall voter turnout would be higher than usual.

Except that various sources were encouraging people to vote absentee even if they were going to be around on election day, once again on the grounds that turnout would be high, lines would be long, and you could save a lot of hassle by voting before November 7. Well, if enough people did that, then you would see fewer people at the polling places, since so many would already have voted...not that more people were voting, mind, just that more were voting in advance.

I haven't heard if any records were set for absentee ballots.

Granted, more people voted than in recent years. But only one person I've spoken to had to wait in line more than a couple of minutes. Me, I got to my polling place at about 7:25 a.m., chatted in the parking lot with the school custodian a few minutes, went in for my ballot (number 53), took the only open voting booth, marked the aforementioned ballot and turned it in at the lockbox, went back outside and chatted with one of the candidates for a few minutes, and was still at my office by 7:50.

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