Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008: Post-classes at Trinity Church

As any good West Wing fan knows, rain depresses voter turnout. But the rain has not slowed students down this afternoon. A post-classes rush actually had students waiting in lines. The lines have now subsided and things are moving quickly again. Even though the polls won't close for two and a half hours, we've already seen huge turn-outs for District 1. 850 votes and counting. This doesn't even include the students who've voted via provisional ballot. Joshua Leinsdorf, an experienced Independent poll worker here today, confirms that this is an unprecedented turn-out.

Part of the turn out can be attributed to the great non-partisan efforts to register voters this year. Although critics of voter registration drives say that an increase in registration doesn't guarantee an increase in votes, such critics would be dismayed by the results in this district. For instance, this district saw so many new registrations in the fall that the Mercer County Board of Elections had to produce a "supplemental" booklet of 400 names. (In the voting process, people need to sign for themselves in a pre-printed booklet). Although 400 is only 1/6 of the total number of registered voters for this district, more than 1/6 of the voters have been found in this supplemental booklet, suggesting that a good proportion of newly registered voters are indeed voting. This is good news for voter registration projects on campus.