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Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's not over 'til it's over

With all due respect to pollsters, I must admit that polls give me no comfort.
  • First, they are - albeit scientific - just an indication of the outcome. Methodology could be flawed, or imperfect. Unprecedented registration, changing demographic....too many unknowns to have any kind of certainty. Maybe I'm just overly cautious.
  • Second, polls are not clearly marked ballots. Polls cannot be physically counted to elect a President.
  • Third, voters are busy and voters like convenience. Too often people either cannot or decide not to bother with long lines, extreme heat or cold, or any form of voter intimidation. Polls that indicate that their candidate is ahead provide a false - I repeat - false sense of security.
This may seem obvious but I feel like it must be stated.

How does one get elected? Frankly, as it turns out, it has less to do with eight years of claimed dissatisfaction, or 20 months of evaluating the options for the new President. No matter how much money is spent up to the day of elections, it can all come to naught on the day itself. Yes, it can. So, what is important? The VOTE of each and every person. The actual VOTE.

What must not be taken for granted? People can change their minds for the strangest reasons up to the very last minute. They can have second thoughts because of something they heard or saw on the way to the polling station. Yes, they can.

Election day itself requires supreme preparation for any possible contingency. No complacency allowed. Details. Details. Details.

My two cents? Organizers must put themselves in the mind of the voter. The key to elections is the degree of organization on the ground. Simple. Know your people. Know your voters. Know the issues. Be proactive. Keep focused on the bottom line - clearly marked ballots that are considered legally cast. So, voters wake up and decide when to go to the polls. How do they get there? Do they drive? Public transportation? What do they see and hear? What is the weather like? Do they have unforeseen needs? Can the organization help them get back and forth? Do they need to be continually convinced to stay in the line no matter what? What about when they get into voting booth? Have they been properly educated about how to vote SO IT COUNTS? Did I say - have they been properly educated about how to vote SO IT COUNTS no matter what "special" circumstances may arise in the booth such as technological difficulties? Does the machinery have laser-like focus on getting people in and out of the voting booth having voted SO IT COUNTS - no matter what?

Last word? A poll is a very useful tool that can promote complacency. There are never enough votes. NEVER. Every singe one counts. A poll is not a clearly marked ballot that is legally cast. Only legal votes can be counted to elect a President. So let's get those legally cast votes going!

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Reasoning The Reasons by Deika Morrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.