2010 Elections


More proof that Voting is confusing.

This is still my favorite Election Day story:

Supporters of a write-in campaign for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), aiming to make the process as simple as possible, have made ink stamps bearing Fenty’s name, which voters can take into the polls to stamp their ballots.

But it wasn’t so simple for one Fenty supporter Tuesday afternoon. That voter, at Precinct 51 at Lafayette Elementary School in the Chevy Chase neighborhood, appears to have used the stamp on the screen of an electronic machine, election officials said.

The stamps, it apparently does not go without saying, are meant to be used on paper ballots only. [wapo]

I promise, no voting machines were harmed during the making of this post. I was surprised that the ink stamps are legal– and that this isn’t the first time they’ve been pressed in to service. Supporters of Anthony Williams used them eight years ago as well!

Live from Busboys and Poets…Election Night!

We are here at Busboys and Poets on 14th street, where Free Speech TV is hosting a panel discussion/dinner during a live broadcast of election night coverage. Interesting tidbits from the panel, below:

Midterm elections = an older and whiter turnout?

“Race is always a huge factor in the United States.”

The racial divisions that existed before Obama was President, existed after…and in some ways, are worse.”

If 2008 was the year of Obama, is 2010 about voters “demanding a recount”?

Discussion of how Obama built a movement around himself in ’08, but not in ’10, when some may have hoped to ride his coattails.

Is America a Center-Right nation?

– they are taking a break. a panel has been lowered…over the panel. –

Panel now discussing whether Obama was progressive enough. “He could be FDR or he could be Bill Clinton…he chose ‘Bill Clinton’”.

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Get an “I Voted” badge to go with your sticker!

Hillicon Valley

This is neat. According to Hillicon Valley, a popular location-based social network is getting in the spirit of Election Day:

FourSquare, an application that allows people to broadcast their whereabouts to their friends, doles out an “I voted” badge to users who “check in” with the site when they arrive at their voting place.

But, wait! There’s more!

…swing by elections.foursquare.com to watch America vote in real-time throughout the day, with all the check-in data from polling stations across the country. Navigate the map to see where foursquare voter turnout is happening, and all the details about how and where our country performs its civic duty. [4sq]

That’s a screenshot of how many D.C.-users have checked in (plus what gender they are). Some may ask why badges or “checking in” to polling places matters for Election Day; considering how Foursquare tends to alter its users behavior, I think it’s significant. Foursquare power-users are motivated to play the game constantly– and now they’ve been given a special incentive to get out the vote.

All Quiet at Columbia Heights’ Precinct 36

Elizabeth Thomsen

Precinct 36: Latin American Youth Center, 1419 Columbia Road, NW

Just wandered down to my local polling place and heard that out of 5,333 registered voters, a total of 505 have participated in the democratic process.

There were no lines, and it was fairly quiet, which makes sense because it’s after lunch. This morning it was busy and they’re expecting traffic to pick up again at 4pm, when the apres-work crowd arrives.

If you don’t know where your polling place is, DC’s BOEE has a very useful site which asks for your address and then tells you where to go. You have until 8pm tonight, to vote.

“I think the bike lobby liked Fenty.”


Random cab in D.C. I was too busy typing to photograph mine!

I opened the door and threw my laptop bag and purse down the expansive backseat of a weathered American sedan. “NPR, please”, I said. The driver looked at me in his rear view mirror, eyes crinkling.

“They are building a new building.” His voice was low and lovely. I instantly relaxed, as I often do, when I hear the lilt of an accent.

“NPR? Yes, they are.”

“I hope they tear all the walls. It’s just a warehouse, that thing was old.” He pronounces thing like “ting”. I love it.

“You’re awfully opinionated about a company you don’t even listen to,” I teased. “Isn’t this WTOP I’m hearing?” He decisively punches one button on his radio, and the car is filled with the Diane Rehm Show. “I work for WAMU,” I tell him.

“I switch from time to time. Whole thing is great. Rehm is doing well, Kojo is doing fine. You work with Kojo from time to time?”

I mention that I work on the same floor but that no, I don’t work with him. He changes the subject.

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More on Why Fenty Lost

Just finished reading Mike DeBonis’ column, “Consultant’s postmortem: Fenty became ‘flawed and expendable’”:

Bill Knapp — the veteran political communications consultant, whose business partner Anita Dunn consulted for both Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee — has come forward to explain to Democratic operatives that this was more about Fenty’s preternaturally bad communications instinct than a latent anti-incumbent mood…

Fenty lost, Knapp writes, because he “neglected a critical base” and “symbolic of that was the Sunday before the election when he participated in a triathlon in DC instead of visiting African American churches, as his opponent did.”

Ugh. That’s brutal. Triathlons are impressive, but he needed to focus on some church-going folks at that point, not his fitness. Continue reading

The Mayoral Race– by the Numbers

How you voted, via Mike DeBonis at WaPo:

Black turnout went up. It wasn’t just gentrifying areas where turnout rose. In Ward 8, with the highest proportion of African Americans, the number of ballots cast rose 27 percent, and 82 percent of them were for Gray. In Precinct 107, in Ward 7′s Greenway neighborhood, 148 more voters showed up this year than in 2006 – a 46 percent jump. In the wards Fenty won (1, 2, 3 and 6), there were about 9,400 more votes than in 2006. But in the wards Gray won (4, 5, 7 and 8), turnout rose by more than 6,800. Fenty-friendly areas might be growing fast but not nearly fast enough to help him: There were 7,800 more votes in Gray’s wards than in Fenty’s. The city might be changing, but one still cannot win by the white vote alone.

Where Fenty lost. The story of this election can be found in the city’s largest precinct: Precinct 66, voting at Bertie Backus Middle School in Ward 5, next to the Fort Totten Metro station. It’s in the heart of middle-class black Washington; according to 2000 Census figures, the precinct is 96 percent black and the homeownership rate is 75 percent, well above the city average. It’s also the only precinct in the city that saw more than 2,000 votes, and 79 percent of them went to Gray. Gray emerged from 66 with a 1,287 vote lead – more than one-tenth of his total victory margin. Backus, incidentally, was among the 23 public schools Fenty closed in 2008.

I’ll admit, my eyes tend to glaze over when I see that many numbers encased in a paragraph, but I couldn’t stop reading– and learning and confirming.

Marion Barry demands more…”redistribution”.


Today, we’re full of love for the City Paper. Right now we’re reading the “Loose Lips” column, where we found the following regarding Marion Barry:

“To the victor go the spoils,” Barry tells LL. “We demand more than our fair share because we’ve been neglected for so long, it’s as simple as that.”

Sigh. That’s the sound Almost Mayor Vincent Gray just made when he read that line—because if Gray is going to be successful as leader of his “One City,” he’ll have to convince white residents (especially in neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park that voted for Adrian Fenty last week) that he’s not a rampaging Visigoth who wants to take their new breadmakers and Subarus and give them away to families living east of the Anacostia River.

Why not an Ostrogoth? Did they not rampage? I kid. Continue reading

Michelle Rhee: America’s great hope?

Jason Pier in DC

Will they suffer if Rhee goes away?

At Foreign Policy, David Rothkopf thinks that political pundits were remiss to focus on the Tea Party in their post-primary soundbites, when the real tempest was caused by the American Federation of Teachers, a union so powerful, it got rid of Adrian Fenty, Michelle Rhee, and our ability to do Algebra in the future:

So they poured money into the campaign of Fenty’s opponent, D.C. City Council Chairman Vincent Gray. The spin on the election was that Fenty lost touch with the city’s black voters, but behind the scenes it was another victory for special interests that care more about their job security than they do about America’s economic future. The side that seems dedicated to ensuring that the U.S. continues to fall behind other countries in academic performance — and thus in terms of competitiveness, growth and by extension, national security, scored a big victory … if anything so cynical and counter-productive could actually be called a victory…

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