I just went to the polls today to vote in the early voting. I arrived at my public library to find about 100 people already in line in front of me with a 45 minute wait to vote. It was 2:30 on a Monday afternoon.
I know I have read and studied the Obama and McCain campaigns and visited and met many of the candidates in person. However, a small sign taped to the banister as I made my way up the stairs at the Huntersville, NC library said "A straight party vote does NOT include the President". I can't imagine how many people will be confused by this or how many people may miss this sign as they are standing in line talking.
I am not sure how with Obama and McCain e-mailing, calling, canvassing, etc. I had never read before that if you pull the straight party vote, you do NOT vote for the President.
Since NC uses high tech computerized voting machines, I have to believe that this will also confuse the non-computer literate, the poor, uneducated, and elderly. After voting I went on line to do some research and it seems this had been set up the same way in 2004 with an estimate of 90,000 votes for President not cast. They counted the total # of ballots and then how many votes for President. This year, the number can be even larger.
In Charlotte, this may actually hurt McCain where our popular Republican Mayor, Pat McCrory, is runnin g for governor. While many local democrats will split tickets for voting, many Republicans will click on the "Straight Party Vote" thinking they get McCain and McCrory.
The other problem which I learned last week at the Mallard Creek BBQ attended by 20,000 people and most major statewide candidates is that Judges are not included in the straight party vote since their positions are non-partisan.
With North Carolina as a major swing state, this issue will be appearing soon on national television and definitely on election night if the vote is as close as it is assumed to be here.
The early voting in NC is very heavy with people lining up at the opening of the polls each day and being at the polls and hour after the official closing time each night (the rule is if you are in line when the 7 pm closing time happens, you get to vote). Just like looking for "cheap gas stations" the media in NC is starting to report the best places to early vote with the shortest waiting times.
Interesting times, indeed and more fodder for the political parties. Keep an eye out on this issue as I expect it to surface on major media outlets soon.