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Monday
Nov192012

Absentee Voting Down; Same Day Registration Way Up!

Same day voter registration was way up in New Hampshire from the totals from four years ago.

Although the final numbers statewide are not yet available, early indications are it will be about 100,000 same day registered voters out of 720,000 or so votes cast, or around 14 percent. It's much higher than that in Manchester.  More than 20 percent--that's one in five people--were not registered when they walked into the polling location.

Actually, that needs to be restated.  Many of them were registered, but in a different city, town, or ward, and thus had to re-register prior to voting.

Republicans, who take this as a sign of voter fraud, are just as wrong as are Democrats who think photo ID for voting is an attempt to suppress the vote.

The total number of newly registered voters in Manchester was 10,301...out of slightly less than 50,000 votes cast citywide (it’ll be a few weeks before we get the breakdown by Democrat, Republican, and Undeclared, but I suspect the majority chose the UND status).  It wasn't just in certain locations; the City Clerk's office says that all 12 wards were in the 800-900 range.  In the past, certain wards have stood out--the wards in which more transient type people seemed to live (wards two and 12); that would be wards with more apartment buildings and less single family homes.  That wasn't the case this year.

The statewide number from 2008 is 76,755 same day registrations out of 719,403 total votes cast.  That's 10.7 percent.  S

Hey, what can I say?  We have a very mobile society.  When you move, you need to change the location at which you vote.

There's one other factor.  Every ten years, the voter checklist is "purged".  In an attempt to keep fraud at a very low level, people who have not voted in recent elections are sent a post card and unless they respond saying they still live at that address, they are removed from the checklist.  Thus, some of them have to re-register after having been "purged" (I know, that's a cruel word, but it's the one which is used). 

It's the antithesis of voter fraud; it's voting where you actually live.

We now officially have the numbers for absentee voting, and it's actually down statewide.

In 2012, 67,051 votes were cast by absentee ballot; 651,737 by voters at the polls.  That's 9.3 percent by absentee.  In 2008, the number was 10.1 percent by absentee (72,264 by absentee, 647,139 at the polls).

Thus, while the turnout was about the same as four years ago, slightly less people voted by absentee, and slightly more people (a new record in fact) actually showed up to vote the day of the election.

Congratulations to poll workers everywhere for a generally thankless (and not very well paid) job very well done.

In my ward (8 in Manchester), lines were long not to get a ballot and go vote, but to register to vote and then to actually put the ballot through the machine.  That's because Manchester was running a city election on a separate ballot (with nine winners out of 62 running for charter commission) at the same time.  In other words, nearly 100,000 ballots had to go through the machines which kept jamming.

I waited at least half an hour to run the ballot through the machine.  The moderator was offering to let you place your ballot in a separate box (election officials would then run them through machines later), but only people in a real rush were taking advantage of the offer, perhaps an indication that must people don't trust the process.  They want to see the ballot go through the machine even with a half hour (or longer wait).

That's not surprising.

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