Tag Archives: voter registration

In Ron Nehring’s World, the Future’s So Bright, You Have to Wear Rose-Colored Shades

Party 2006 % 2010 %
Democratic 42.7 44.6
Republican 34.6 30.8
Decl. State 19.9 20.1
First, the good news on voter registration stats, in the 60 day registration report, there are more Dems, less Republicans, and a few more DTSers.  You can find all of the data in the stats at the SoS site, but here’s a quick summary to the right.

Now, here’s where the rose-colored glasses come in. When asked about the numbers, California GOP chair Ron Nehring had this to say:

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring said the party has made slight gains since the start of the year, going from 30.75 percent of registered voters in January to 30.8 percent in April.

Nehring said more voters are identifying themselves as Republicans in the state and the rest of the nation.

“We’re climbing while the Democrats are falling,” he said. (SJ Merc)

First of all, 30.75 to 30.8 isn’t even a rounding error. It’s the same number rounded to the next place.  Furthemore, even if he was going to argue from the January position, the numbers are exactly the same for the two parties.  So instead of trying to help Nehring out with the numbers, I have a better idea.  I’ve come up with a few possible other big whoppers to tell when you are desperate. And, remember, no need to mess with reality with this.

Congratulations to the NCAA champion Cal basketball team!

President McCain is very fond of California Republicans, he said he’ll get the presidential phonograph spinning a tune just for us!

El Presidente Shwarzenegger is the best EVAH!

Democrats Nearly Reach Parity in Fresno County

Despite Obama’s perceived drag on the party, registration numbers are still moving towards Democrats in Fresno County.

Fresno County has certified its first voter-registration numbers of the year, and the Democratic Party continues to close the gap with the rival Republican Party. The gap is now just 639 voters. … Republicans surpassed Democrats a decade ago, and by 2004 had widened the gap countywide to more than 23,500 voters.

Since then, however, the Democrats have been chipping away at the advantage.

In October 2004, Democrats had 140,400 registered voters. Now, they have 157,899. In the meantime, the Republicans have gone from 164,073 in 2004 to 158,538.

Last November, presidential candidate Barack Obama, the Democrat, won Fresno County by more than 5,000 votes over his Republican rival, John McCain. (Fresno Bee)

We’ll have to wait until the Secretary of State issues numbers later in the year.  But if this trend is statewide, perhaps the conventional wisdom about this electoral season might need to be adjusted.

Whitman Gets a HUGE Bailout As Santa Clara Co. Acknowledges Registration In 1999

Meg Whitman was seriously on the ropes for her apparent lack of voting or even registering to vote until she was 46 years old.  Her contradictory and downright puzzling alibis and statements after the fact were utterly mockable, and Chris Kelly did the honors, as he’s wont to do.  But all along, Whitman was looking for a lifeline – some discrepancy in the reporting that she could use to muddy the entire story, to “prove” that the Sacramento Bee was wrong in their reporting, even if 99% of the story remains true.  She has found that lifeline.

Republican candidate Meg Whitman was registered to vote in Santa Clara County for nine months in 1999, Santa Clara elections officials said today, admitting that they supplied inaccurate information to The Bee and other news organizations on the issue.

The Registrar of Voters had previously told The Bee and other media outlets that there was no record of Margaret Cushing Whitman being registered to vote or voting in Santa Clara County in its current voter registration database, on its older microfiche records, or in a separate database of canceled voter registrations.

On Monday, Whitman’s campaign said its own team had last week discovered a previously unknown record of Whitman being registered to vote. They said they found it in an archived Santa Clara County voter registration database […]

DFM then found an archival voting registration record for Whitman on an old back-up file of the county’s 1999 registration records not available to county staff, he said.

“The back-up file confirmed that Ms. Whitman was registered to vote in Palo Alto from February 8, 1999 to October 4, 1999,” Moreles said.

Importantly, no votes took place in Santa Clara County between February and October 1999.  And while Whitman, according to the Registrar of Voters, re-registered in a different county sometime after that, there is not yet a record of such a registration – at least not until 2002.

The point is that this doesn’t fundamentally change the story about Whitman’s voting record.  She still hasn’t produced the full records on her own; still hasn’t confirmed any registration or vote prior to 1999, when she was 43 years old; still hasn’t accounted for the “I clearly remember voting in 1984” remark she made on Fox News yesterday; still hasn’t clarified numerous contradictions in her evolving set of stories; and still hasn’t shown a voting record befitting any kind of engaged citizen.

However, she has one little data point where the Bee made a mistake.  And she’s sure to use that to try and discredit the whole article and the whole issue.  Whenever asked about this from now on, she’ll start with “The Sacramento Bee article was inaccurate.”  And she’ll be technically right.  And it won’t answer the question.

It’ll probably work, too.

It’s at least good enough for Rudy Giuliani to endorse her.

States Move to Create Culture of Voter Engagement through Preregistration

By Erin Ferns

The rising levels of voter participation among the nation’s youth continue to be challenged by the current voter registration system, perpetuating the difficulty of fostering lifelong voters. Some states are proposing to take this challenge into their own hands by making voter registration accessible to citizens as young as 16. Already widely accessible at schools and departments of motor vehicles, the move would allow future voters in some states to automatically be enrolled on the voter rolls on their 18th birthdays, a change that advocates say could “close the registry gap between young voters and the rest of the population.”  

California and Rhode Island are among the states that have introduced legislation permitting 16- and 17-year-old citizens to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays. Rhode Island bills, SB 85 and HB 5005 show promise to pass the legislature – a prospect that is nothing new to the state, which has passed such bills three years in a row only to have them vetoed by the governor, according to research and advocacy group, Fair Vote.

“It’s good public policy to get young people involved as early as possible in the democratic process,” said Fair Vote Rhode Island Director Matt Sledge in Brown University’s Daily Herald last week. The preregistration bill, he said, would “close the registry gap between young voters and the rest of the population.”

Today, multiple states allow certain citizens under age 18 to preregister to vote, including Rhode Island and California. However, Hawaii and Florida are the only states to have enacted dedicated preregistration laws that permit all citizens as young as 16 to register to vote, which advocates argue is the best way to incorporate youth into the democratic process.

Institutionalizing preregistration not only makes it easier to conduct and participate in voter registration activities on high school campuses and DMVs since it captures more young people before they graduate, but it also helps “boost the effectiveness of civics education by tying it directly to civic participation through the opportunity to preregister,” according to a Fair Vote report. The report further notes that “uniform” preregistration laws, like those in Hawaii and Florida, help alleviate general voter registration ills by acting as a “cost-effective step toward greater standardization, which means a cleaner, more accurate data set. Pre-registration could also save money and minimize human error by allowing students to register year round at points of civic engagement and education…”

Advocates say California is a prime place to engage and enfranchise its diverse population, which is “especially apparent in high schools today.” According to a 2007 proposal for preregistration in California by the public policy group, New America Foundation, “if young people are not hooked into democratic institutions and practices while they’re in high school, it becomes more difficult to do so after they leave high school.”

The group emphasized that young people become more difficult to “contact or engage” directly after high school, resulting in a “‘disengagement cycle’ that becomes increasingly difficult to break. High school, in many cases, is the final opportunity to fully engage young people about participating in our democracy. Having common sense practices for engaging young people in high school is crucial. One of the most effective efforts is to lower the age for voter registration to sixteen.”

Although California has yet to pass a bill to lower the voter registration age to 16, there is still an effort underway. Last week, preregistration bill AB 30 was reported favorably out of committee last week. It is now pending in the Assembly committee on Appropriations.

California and Rhode Island also show that they are on the right track toward engaging young people by mandating schools to serve as voter registration agencies or to facilitate drives on campus, both effective ways to facilitate civic engagement through education. The next step is to combine those good laws with legislation to lower the “effective engagement age” in order to capture more future voters while helping standardize the voter registration system in general.

Rhode Island senator and sponsor of SB 85, Rhoda Perry agrees that preregistration would “get more people involved in the civic process,” the Brown Daily Herald reported. The only problem with the bill, she said, is that “the governor vetoes it.” There is hope for future voters in Rhode Island, however, as preregistration is increasing gaining support in the legislature, a change that Perry said may be just enough to override the governor’s veto.

To monitor youth voting bills in these states, visit www.electionlegislation.orgor subscribe to the weekly Election Legislation digest, featuring election bills in all 50 states, by emailing Erin Ferns at eferns [at] projectvote.org.  

New Voter Registration Statistics Released by SoS

(Registration is an important feature as we look for opportunities to get to 2/3. Thanks for organizing all this data! – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

The Secretary of State has just published new voter registration statistics.  Compared to the February 10 update, there were 115,300 fewer voters in California on March 20–46,445 fewer Democrats, 41,538 fewer Republicans and 23,295 fewer decline-to-states.  Democrats now make up 0.03 percent more of the electorate than they did in February (now 44.55%), while Republicans make up 0.03 percent less (now 31.10%) and Decline to States have remained virtually unchanged (at 19.99%).

At the county level, Republicans have lost ground to Democrats in 36 counties, and gained on Democrats in 21.  One county, Napa, has remained perfectly unchanged.  The Republican registration advantage in Orange County, for example, has shrunk from 12.21 percent in February to 11.84 percent now.  Similar leftward shifts (percentage-wise) are occurring in San Mateo, Alpine, Yolo, Sierra, Tuolumne, San Bernardino, San Francisco and Imperial counties.  The only comparable Republican gains are in Kings and Madera counties.  If the Orange County rate of Democratic relative growth continues (it most certainly won’t), Democrats will outnumber Republicans in Orange county by 2012.

In the State Senate, there are 14 districts where the incumbent party has been losing its relative share of voters since February–nine currently held by Republicans (SD-01, SD-12, SD-14, SD-15, SD-17, SD-18, SD-29, SD-33, SD-35) and five by Democrats (SD-05, SD-16, SD-25, SD-26, SD-39).  Only SD-12, SD-15 and SD-17 are competitive.  All three of those are held by Republicans and all three already have Democratic registration majorities.  SD-12 is the only one of these seats that is up in 2010 and is almost certainly the only 2010 Senate race that will be even close to competitive (Democrats have a 14.04 percent registration edge).  SD-04 is theoretically possible to flip if we get a very, very strong Democrat (Republicans have an 11.05 percent registration advantage); but we’d probably wind up with a Democrat like Bob Nelson or Evan Bayh who’d vote against the budget anyway.  Our best chance at 2/3 anytime soon is for Maldo or Strickland to quit.

Assembly details over the flip….

In the Assembly, there are 50 districts where the incumbent party is losing ground.  Among potentially competitive districts, there are nine such districts, all of which are currently held by Republicans: AD-03, AD-05, AD-25, AD-26, AD-33, AD-36, AD-37, AD-38, and AD-63.


District Incumbent REG DEM GOP DTS Margin Net change since 2/10/09 2008 Result
AD-03 Logue (R) 252,208 87,806 34.81% 101,274 40.15% 48,085 19.07% R+13,468 R+5.34% D+86 D+0.03% R+11.2%
AD-05 Niello (R)* 256,796 97,395 37.93% 99,633 38.80% 48,752 18.98% R+2,238 R+0.87% D+68 D+0.03% R+16.2%
AD-10 Huber (D) 254,048 99,891 39.32% 100,078 39.39% 43,767 17.23% R+187 R+0.07% D+97 D+0.04% D+0.3%
AD-15 Buchanan (D) 304,961 123,827 40.60% 110,067 36.09% 59,691 19.57% D+13,760 D+4.51% D+133 D+0.06% D+4.6%
AD-25 T. Berryhill (R) 241,469 88,962 36.84% 102,138 42.30% 38,773 16.06% R+13,176 R+5.46% D+91 D+0.02% R+19.6%
AD-26 B. Berryhill (R) 202,966 85,327 42.04% 79,603 39.22% 29,854 14.71% D+5,724 D+2.82% D+108 D+0.06% R+3.6%
AD-30 Gilmore (R) 130,882 60,607 46.31% 47,986 36.66% 17,582 13.43% D+12,621 D+9.64% R+330 R+0.24% R+1.6%
AD-33 Blakeslee (R)* 227,227 81,597 35.91% 92,649 40.77% 41,248 18.15% R+11,052 R+4.86% D+214 D+0.03% R+27.8%
AD-36 Knight (R) 225,302 89,133 39.56% 87,069 38.65% 38,347 17.02% D+2,064 D+0.92% D+183 D+0.08% R+3.2%
AD-37 Strickland (R)* 256,682 92,041 35.86% 106,279 41.40% 46,644 18.17% R+14,238 R+5.55% D+199 D+0.07% R+4.4%
AD-38 Smyth (R) 261,799 96,437 36.84% 104,766 40.02% 49,014 18.72% R+8,329 R+3.18% D+92 D+0.03% R+10.0%
AD-63 Emmerson (R)* 245,320 92,967 37.90% 98,997 40.35% 43,398 17.69% R+6,030 R+2.46% D+366 D+0.13% R+8.8%
AD-64 Nestande (R) 244,838 88,421 36.11% 102,404 41.83% 43,116 17.61% R+13,983 R+5.71% R+893 R+0.36% R+100.0%
AD-65 Cook (R) 249,598 92,701 37.14% 102,542 41.08% 42,446 17.01% R+9,841 R+3.94% R+54 R+0.02% R+6.6%

An * signifies a term-limited incumbent.

New Registration Numbers Show More Increases For Democrats

The latest report of registration, current up to February 2010, shows that voters have continued to register Democratic in higher numbers even since the general election.  There are now 17.3 million registered voters, 74.4% of all eligible adults, and Democrats have a 2.32 million vote advantage over Republicans.  By the percentages, the state consists of 44.52% Democrats, 31.14% Republicans, and 19.99% decline to state, with smaller parties rounding out the rest of the voters.

2010 is the last year before a new census and new district lines, so the district-level numbers only apply for the next election cycle.  Still, a close reading makes clear where Democrats should be focusing their registration efforts and resources for the next year.

In Congress, there are two Republican-held seats where Republicans hold less than 40% of the registration share, seen as a key dividing line.  Those are Dan Lungren’s CA-03 (39.7% Republican-37.7% Democratic) and, surprisingly, Buck McKeon’s CA-25 (39.7% Republican-39.2% Democratic), which has changed dramatically over the past few years and could be ripe for a well-funded, legitimate challenger.  Obama won that district 50-48 as well.  With only 351,421 registered voters in CA-25, there are additional non-voters waiting to be registered there to tighten up those numbers even further.  CA-19 also has a shortfall of voters which could lead to a tightening of the rolls.  

In the State Senate, the only even-numbered seat (the ones up for election in 2010) that deserves a focus is SD-12, where Jeff Denham is termed out.  There are 47.5% registered Democrats and 33.1% registered Republicans.  Democrats in that region are fairly conservative, and so there may not be a progressive coming out of that district, but there’s no reason on Earth why Democrats shouldn’t own that seat.  Especially since there may be 100,000 unregistered voters out there.

As for the Assembly, the numbers look good in AD-05, AD-26 (Dems have a 42-39 lead in registration), AD-30 and AD-36, with a few other marginal possibilities based solely on the voter reg. numbers (AD-38, AD-63, AD-64, and AD-65 come to mind).  There is absolutely a path to pick up three seats and a 2/3 majority in the Assembly, if the net is cast wide enough.

Of course, oftentimes Democratic officials focus too much, in my view, on voter registration statistics, and shoudl recruit good candidates and give them the resources they need to compete instead.  But in this off-year, registration stats offer an opportunity to determine where to target.  You can dig through them yourself at the Secretary of State’s page.

What We’ve Been Waiting For, What We’ve Been Working For: The Progressive Wave Comes To California

The past few days have seen another spate of “OMG, Republican incumbents are in trouble!” stories in the traditional media.  Aside from them not understanding and internalizing the theory of coattails, this problem is particularly acute among the California media, where gerrymandering is just supposed to lock up Congressional and legislative seats airtight, except when, you know, it doesn’t.  Peculiar to this rendering of the world is the idea that nobody ever moves, dies, or reaches the age of 18 in any particular district, and thus voter registration statistics are completely static.  But of course this is not true, and once the Democratic Party started putting resources into registering new and lapsed voters, why look what happened:

One of the major reasons for these competitive contests has been the narrowing gap in registered voters between the parties. While Republicans still enjoy a substantial advantage over Democrats in all three districts, their leads have shrunk significantly.

Four years ago, Republicans led Democrats among registered voters by margins of 17 percent in the Orange County-based 46th, 15 percent in the San Diego-area 50th and 11 percent in the Riverside County-based 45th. By this year’s registration deadline of Oct. 20, those leads had shrunk by 6 percent in the 50th, 5 percent in the 46th and 6 percent in the 45th.

There are still the conventional wisdom-besotted punditocracy that simply can’t conceive of these major shifts in the electorate (it’s not like anything has happened the past eight years that would lead people to desert the Republican Party in droves, right?), who believe that incumbents just win and that’s the end of it.  But just ask one of those incumbents what he fears on Tuesday:

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach/Long Beach said Friday he’s concerned that Republicans will be discouraged by a possible Democratic landslide at the polls, affecting his re-election bid.

“If (Republican nominee John) McCain does not do well, and Republicans stay home, my lead could evaporate,” the nine-term incumbent of the 46th Congressional District said.

Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook, the Democratic challenger, said the race is a “statistical dead heat,” and agreed that a solid turnout for change – from the economic problems facing the country – could be the difference in Tuesday’s hotly contested race.

“All the uncertainty that’s going on now is helping,” she said, adding that incumbents who have been “part of the system for the past 20 years” could be vulnerable.

This is all the more reason why Democrats and progressives need to remember Jim Corman and get as many voters to the polls as possible.  And Don’t Stop At The Top, of course.

And if the scenario is bright in the Congressional races, the Assembly looks even brighter.  Why, even Dan Walters has figured this one out.

Voters may not realize that they could dramatically alter that balance, but interest groups that are pouring millions of dollars into legislative and ballot measure campaigns certainly get it.

Democrats could pick up one seat in the Senate and are so certain of gaining three to five seats in the Assembly that they’ve diverted resources into several marginal districts, taking advantage of Obamania-inspired voter registration gains, to shoot for the six added seats that would give them a two-thirds majority. That margin is required for the budget and tax increases and could happen as the Capitol wrestles with a rapidly deteriorating economy and a fast-growing budget deficit.

We know about those top-line seats: AD-80, AD-78, AD-15, AD-10, AD-26.  But it’s Linda Jones’ race in AD-36 that has captured my attention.  She represents the ultimate swing vote as the potential 54th Democrat in the State Assembly, the vote that would give us a 2/3 majority, which in California is a governing majority.  And Linda Jones happens to be really great, campaiging on a message of green jobs in the waning days of the race.

As part of her campaign to create a stronger economy for the region, Democratic Assembly Candidate Linda Jones (36th District) today announced her “High Desert Region Green Jobs Initiative” – using ‘green jobs’ to increase opportunities for unemployed and underemployed adults in the High Desert communities. Lt. Governor John Garamendi, a longtime advocate for environmental protection and renewable energy, offered his full support of the plan, calling it a “giant leap forward” for the region’s economy.

“Investing in the ‘green economy’ is a win-win because it will create jobs and increase our clean energy efficiency,” said Linda Jones. “The High Desert Region Green Jobs Initiative will create outreach, educational, and training programs to recruit, develop, and sustain a green industry that will create jobs, increase our clean energy efficiency, and grow our economy for the region.”

There’s a website, High Desert Green Jobs, that details the initiative.  It’s fantastic that someone in a swing district trying to become the first Democratic member of the Assembly from this region in 34 years is offering such a bold agenda.

This district had an eight-point GOP lean just two years ago.  Now the registration gap is GONE.  400 votes separate Democrats and Republicans.  Don’t give me that redistricting stuff, nothing’s stopping this progressive wave.  I’m excited for Linda Jones and so is her community.

There’s just one day to go.  You need to Stay for Change because you can have a major impact right here in California.  I’m going to give predictions on everything in the morning.  But right now, I’m psyched.

New Voter Registration Stats – 17.3 Million Californians Registered To Vote

Congratulations to Debra Bowen.  Under her leadership, a record 17.3 million Californians are registered to vote in the November election.  That is 74.56% of total eligible voters, which isn’t too bad.  Bowen released the statistics today, and there are lots of interesting numbers in there.

Here are the county stats.  Democrats have a 2.25 million voter lead on Republicans, and represent 44.40% of the electorate, as opposed to 31.37% for the Yacht Party.  Riverside and Imperial Counties are still below the average for eligible voters (both around 65%), but well up from earlier in the year, a great boon for Manuel Perez’ efforts.  Orange County is among the best for percentage of eligible voters registered, with 86%.  Democrats have taken control in San Bernardino County, with a 10,000-vote lead.  And in San Diego County, the spread is an incredible 400 votes (539,560 for Democrats, 539,939 for Republicans).

Let’s go to the Congressional stats.

CA-03: Republicans outnumber Democrats now by just 9,000 votes, a difference of only 2.19%.  If Bill Durston doesn’t pull off the win, this is the #1 targeted seat for 2010.

CA-04: Still a hefty lead for registered Republicans, 45.94% to 31.06%.

CA-11: Registered Republicans still outnumber registered Dems here, but by only 3,800 votes (about 1%).

CA-26: Now a 20,000 vote spread (around 5.5% lead for Republicans).

CA-45: Republicans outnumber Democrats by 16,000 votes (4.6%).  This seat also needs to be targeted heavily now and in the future.  

CA-46: 31.91% for Democrats, 44.07% for Republicans.

CA-50: 31.35% for Dems, 40.55% for Republicans.

Here’s the Assembly.

AD-10: Literally 100 votes separate Democrats and Republicans here.  But you know, it’s hopelessly gerrymandered.

AD-15: Democrats have 12,000 more votes than Republicans (3.5%).

AD-26: Democrats outnumber Republicans by 5,000 votes (2.4%).

AD-30: A 13,000 vote lead for Democrats.

AD-36: Again, 100 votes separate Democrats and Republicans.  I didn’t realize it was this close.  Linda Jones has a real shot.

AD-37: Republicans have the advantage by 16,000 votes (around 6%).

AD-38: Republicans have a 9,000 vote advantage.

AD-63: That’s only an 8,000 vote lead for Republicans.

AD-78: Democrats have fully 26,000 more registered voters than Republicans (a lead of 11%).

AD-80: It’s a 15,000 vote lead here, 44.99% to 37.17%.

Six seats flipping, given the expected big turnout, is definitely a possibility.

The State Senate shows gains in SD-12 (47.33% Democratic, 33.41% Republican), SD-15 (40.86% Democratic, 34.82% Republican) and SD-19, where Democrats hold the registration advantage by a thin 1,058 votes.  2/3 is within reach by 2010.

Voters Eager to Have A Stake in Historical Election: Early Voting Predicts Strong Turnout Tuesday

Cross-posted at Project Vote’s blog, Voting Matters

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

In the last two weeks voter registration and early voting has shown that voters are geared up and ready to take part in what has been called a “historical event” on November 4.

Last week, voters scrambled to register at drive-thru election office windows in Southern California, busy street corners in Wichita, Kansas, and post-naturalization ceremonies in Los Angeles County. These efforts to meet the Oct. 20 registration deadlines in some states are seen as evidence of a surge in voter registration among historically underrepresented communities, including newly naturalized Latino and Asian citizens, and Black voters as well as formerly disenfranchised ex-felons.

This week, early vote turnout gave a sneak peek at what voters and election officials can expect at the polls on Tuesday, and it’s “going to be busy as heck” said one official in Orange County, Calif., where registration rates went up 15 percent since 2004. To accommodate the high turnout, which is expected to exceed “the recent high-water mark in voter participation set in 2004,” some states are taking precautionary measures, adding new machines and even extending early voting.

Experts predict “huge turnout” of as much as 132 million people, or 60.4 to 62.9 percent of eligible voters this year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The last presidential election brought 60.7 percent of eligible voters to the polls, “the highest since 1968, when 61.9 percent cast ballots.” Election officials in many states, including Ohio, Arizona, New Mexico, and Minnesota, have predicted turnout as high as 80 percent.

“We are going to have long lines,” with some states expecting voting machine shortages, according to Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. “But long lines in this election, as in 2004, are not going to deter people from voting, because of the emotional context of this election. They didn’t deter people in 1992 or in 2004, and they’re not going to deter people now.”

Managing long lines has already been a point of contention in key states. In Georgia, voters waited four to five hours to cast early ballots on Wednesday, in spite of last minute changes Tuesday to reduce the eight hour waits voters encountered on Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. A combination of “high turnout, staff and equipment shortages and state computer problems slowed the process.”

Like Gans predicted, however, these issues are not stopping voters from showing up at the polls bright and early.

“It’s a historical event and I want to be part of it,” said Hampton, Ga. voter, Dara Christian, who arrived at her precinct to be second in line shortly after 5 a.m. on Wednesday. According to a Tuesday AJC report, a million ballots had already been cast during more limited voting in the last few weeks. And about 125,095 of those were cast as of Tuesday night.

While officials in various counties addressed some of the problems by supplying extra equipment and staff, according Tuesday’s AJC report, the Democratic Party and election officials are still pleading with Secretary of State Karen Handel to extend early voting in order to support high turnout, including state Democratic Party chairwoman Jane Kidd and DelKalb County Commissioner Lee May.

“It is not my intention to lay blame on any particular, person or body of government,” May wrote in a letter to Handel and Ga. Governor Sonny Perdue. “It is my desire that we don’t inadvertently squelch the desire of so many Georgians to participate in the political process.”

“Handel said Tuesday that Georgia law doesn’t include a mechanism to allow her or Perdue to extend early voting,” according to AJC. Handel said that even if she could allow the extension, it would be a “logistical disaster,” dismissing Kidd’s plea an “orchestrated effort of that political party across the country.”

In Florida, on the other hand, after record turnout Monday,Governor Charlie Crist listened to similar concerns and signed an order to extend early voting hours  to 12 hours a day, over the objections of Secretary of State Kurt Browning, according to the Miami Herald.

“It’s not a political decision,” said Crist, a Republican. “It’s a people decision.”

In Broward and Miami-Dade counties alone, more than 43,000 people cast their votes Monday, “roughly 5,000 more than on any other previous day.”

Other efforts to help ensure Election Day runs smoothly for voters are underway, including the National Campaign for Fair Elections’ hotline, 1-866-OURVote. The line has already received up to 4,000 calls a day, according to New York Times blog, The Caucus. The group plans to have 20 call centers set up around the country by Tuesday with a capacity of handling 100,000 calls on Election Day.

“The notion behind the non-partisan National Campaign phone line is that if problems erupt at polling places on Election Day, the group will have lawyers at the ready to respond to the complaints,” the Times reports.

“So far, most calls have been from voters experiencing problems with their registration along with those trying to locate their polling place, according to Ken Smukler, president of InfoVoter Technologies, the Bala Cynwyd, Pa.company that which manages the call system.”

Among those who will benefit from the voter protection hotline and other precautions learned are the large numbers of new voters around the country. Since 2004, voter registration rose 15 percent in Orange County, Calif. where citizens were allowed to register at a drive-thru elections office window last week, according to the Associated Press. Alabama has 76,000 new voters since 2004, two thirds of whom are African-American, according to the Mobile Register-Press. Last week, two thousand voters registered on a street corner in Kansas, about a quarter of whom were ex-felons who until then thought they were ineligible to vote, according to MSNBC. Newly naturalized Latino and Asian citizens in Los Angeles County doubled last year’s registration rate with 64,000 new voters this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Up until last week, community groups were “walking precincts, conducting phone banks, holding forums, and distributing multilingual voter guides” to help new citizens become a part of the democratic process.

Historically, Latino, Asian, and African-American citizens have registered and voted at alarmingly lower rates than their White counterparts. In 2006, just 41 percent of African-Americans and 32 percent of Asians and Latinos, respectively, voted in the midterm election compared to 52 percent of Whites, according to Project Vote report, Representational Bias of the 2006 Electorate.  But that may just be changing this year.

“We want people to know we’re here and our next generation is going to be very important in the process,” said recently naturalized citizen, Carlos Romero in the Los Angeles Times.

In Other News:

In Ohio, Wary Eyes On Election Process: Fears of Fraud and Blocked Votes – Washington Post

CLEVELAND — With Ohio still up for grabs in next week’s presidential election, the conversation here has expanded from who will carry the state to how — the nitty-gritty of registration lists, voting machines, court challenges and whether it all will play out fairly.

Provisional Ballots Get Uneven Treatment – Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — Provisional ballots, one of the fixes the government implemented following the disputed 2000 election, are often proving to be a poor substitute for the real thing.

Erin Ferns is a Research and Policy Analyst with Project Vote.