Friday, November 02, 2012

And Now, the Counting...

Well, here we are.

November 2, 2012.

Election Day, the culmination of an effort that seemed to begin about 30 seconds after the polls closed in November of 2008 is nearly upon us.

And now comes the counting.

But first, there are more than a few little issues to be dealt with, a few unknowns to be resolved.

Foremost there's Sandy. Good ol' Sandy. A classic late October Nor'easter. Just one that happened to have been fueled by a hurricane. The level of devastation is really quite remarkable -- hybrid devastation, as it were. Big trees flailing about. Water coming in from the sea and finding its way down to the subway platforms. The swamps of Jersey and the low-lying coastlines of the Islands Staten and Long displaying their inconstancy. Millions without power in a drenching stew of who-knows-what.

What kind of effect will it have on the election? Will people be persuaded by events that, indeed, there are those large things what only government, a dedicated and activist government, can hope to deal with? Will the party of climate change deniers take a hit because, while a single event does not by itself confirm the scientific hypotheses involved, such event does serve as another piece of evidence in their favor?

In more prosaic terms, are there just enough people in just enough segments of the voting populace sufficiently affected to have a direct effect on who wins a Senate seat or two? And what of this electorate? Have the various polling agencies gotten it right? The last decade -- and the last four years in particular -- have seen a great change from land lines to the mobile space; hypotheses concerning what the electorate looks like are well considered, to be sure. They are also untested, for now.

Then comes the really scary stuff. What will the effect of voter ID laws be? Turnout has always been the watchword of electoral politics (with "who does the counting" a close second). Will people be turned away for lack of sacred ID? Will there be a raft of provisional ballots in key states to be fought over?

Well, I certainly don't know. But we'll find out.

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