You know what astonishes me?

Australia
November 4, 2008 10:48pm CST
The fact that pre-election day votes (what we would call postal votes in Australia, because you can only do it if you are going to be away from your home electorate on the day of the election so you post in a form) are not only counted before the election day, but that the results are, it seems, available before the election. I would have thought this could seriously affect voting patterns for the rest of the country. If, say, it was clear that Obama was going to win, it might frighten a lot more republicans into registering and voting, or vice versa. The postal votes I mentioned above are not even opened, let alone counted until AFTER the election-day votes are counted in Australia. Having seen the queues at your booths today I can understand why you'd make arrangements for early voting, but not counting them. Or is there something I'm missing here? Is it perhaps that you must have already registered before those votes get counted? Not that I see that changing my reservations about allowing the results to be known. Lash
4 people like this
4 responses
@Bethany1202 (3432)
• United States
5 Nov 08
I was a lucky one. My boyfriend was lucky too. It actually took us less than 10 minutes total to vote. I went to my voting area straight after work and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes, as was my boyfriend! Some people said they waited hours. LUCKY ME!
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
13 Dec 08
That was lucky. We saw huge queues on the television of people waiting for hours to vote. They said that the electoral people had not expected a lot of people to vote and so did not put enough machines out in many districts. I thought they would have realised that more people would vote than the previous election and be prepared.
• United States
5 Nov 08
The votes were not counted and the results not known, Lash. What the media has been reporting before today is WHO is voting - how many of the early voters are registered Democrats, how many are registered Republicans, how many are Independents - as well as their demographic makeup - young, old, black, white, etc. You can draw conclusions from that, obviously, but none of them certain. Since much of the early voting was in person rather than mail-in, it's hard to have hidden it all. If it were mailed in, I think I'd object to them even having access to the party affiliation of those that have voted. I do agree that it may have affected the voting patterns.
• Australia
5 Nov 08
That makes a lot more sense. I should have engaged brain before putting fingers in gear. Lash
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Nov 08
Not at all. If you listen to the news shows, they really didn't make a point of explaining how they were getting their numbers, or what it was that they were counting. It's easy enough to assume when you hear "the large majority of the early votes are from Democrat voters" that the votes have been read or counted. But it was more things like "We're seeing long lines in these counties that have traditionally voted Democrat, and that have a large proportion of registered Democrats..." It was a good question, and I think even the projections that they made based on early voting may have been a bit much.
• United States
5 Nov 08
I had heard of the long lines at the voting places, even here in Arizona. But my wife and I were able to get right in and cast our votes in less than 10 minutes. Sorry, but I must have missed the newscast about early vote ballots had been counted, and had results released. I believe that the laws governing early ballots is that they are not counted until Election Day. Most of the major media companies usually wait until the polls are closed in a state before "projecting" a winner. (OK, they really don't do so well, but if they're wrong, they will have to eat a lot of crow, as they did in 2000). In most states, you must be registed by about two to three weeks prior to the election in order to be listed on the voting lists. Voting in a previous election keeps you on the voter lists.
• Australia
5 Nov 08
There were a couple of discussions about it here that I didn't actually read, just thought it was a bit strange. But if you're right, and they were only talking about projections, then that makes a lot more sense. Lash
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
5 Nov 08
Yes I was puzzled to hear that votes were counted before the polls closed. We are not even allowed to start counting votes in Australia until after the polls have closed but then we also expect everyone to vote so we make sure there are enough voting places to cover everyone. I know that some states have time differences by they were counting votes on the tv before the polls had closed in many states and that just seems really strange. As for the queues. from what I heard on the news they were not prepared for the size of the voter turnout which sounds bad to me. I mean they know how many people are registered so they should make an effort. I heard that they had half the number of machines in black electorates and they said that sometimes the machines changed your vote. That is appalling and how can you know if this is happening when there is no paper trail, no record.