absentee ballot for overseas voter

Projected New Senate:     50 Democrats     50 Republicans    

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strong Dem Strong Dem (43)
weak Dem Weak Dem (3)
barely Dem Barely Dem (4)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (1)
weak GOP Weak GOP (2)
strong GOP Strong GOP (47)
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Sep. 25 New polls: FL NJ OH RSS
  Pickups: Missouri Montana New Jersey Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island Tennessee

News from the Votemaster

Mondays are usually slow news days, but today we have three polls. In New Jersey. Monmouth University has state senator Tom Kean, Jr. ahead of incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) 44% to 38%, but Rasmussen has a poll coming out later today that will show it is tighter than that.

The Columbus Dispatch has a poll showing Sherrod Brown 5 points ahead of incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), 47% to 42%, about what he has been recently. In Florida, Rep. Katherine Harris still lags incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) 55% to 37%.

In Hawaii, incumbent Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) defeated challenger Ed Case in the Democratic senatorial primary. Although Case is somewhat to the right of Akaka, his main argument was that Akaka is too old (82). Akaka's response was that in the Senate, seniority is everything and that he has 16 years of it (he was an interim appointee in 1990, since twice elected to full terms). Case has endorsed Akaka. The winner of the Republican primary was Jerry Coffee, but he already dropped out of the race due to health problems. The state Republican party will look for a replacement, but it hardly matters in this heavily Democratic state. Anybody want to run for the Senate in Hawaii?

We now have a poll in AZ-08, which is expected to be hotly contested. Gabrielle Giffords, winner of a bitter primary is leading Randy Graf, winner of an even more bitter primary, 48% to 36%. This seat, formerly occupied by Jim Kolbe (R) is probably going to flip.

Starting today, a new feature of the site is a daily summary of the House races. It will appear after the News section. Here's how it works. I have a data base listing all the nonpartisan House polls and all the 2004 election results as a Web page as well as in .csv format. I wrote software to use the most recent poll (or election 2004 if there is no 2006 poll) to determine the expected winner and tally the results. This data should be used with a grain (or better yet, a metric ton) of salt. There are few polls of House races, they are often outdated, and the House is much more volatile than the Senate. If President Bush makes a speech, you might decide that the Republicans are {better | worse} than you thought and switch votes for Congress. It is unlikely that a Missourian would switch from Jim Talent to Claire McCaskill or vice versa based on national news. People know the Senate candidates much better than they know the House candidates. By fetching the .csv data, you can play "What if" games in Excel, such as: "What if the national trend gives each Democrat a 2% boost?"

Quick- What's the number of your congressional district? Don't know? Shame on you. You're supposed to know. Here is the official Alameda County (CA) absentee ballot (click for a larger image).

Alameda County ballot

It lists the candidates for four different congressional districts. Do you get to pick your favorite? Mine would be CA-11 (Pombo - McNerny)? But I think you are supposed to vote only in the one you live in. With a ballot like this, many people will be confused and either vote for a candidate in the wrong district or vote for one candidate in all four CDs, either way invalidating the ballot. Would it be too hard to send each voter an absentee ballot that included only races the voter is allowed to vote for? Did Theresa "Butterfly Ballot" LePore get a new job designing ballots in California? What kind of moron thought of this? Choose just ONE.

o Small
o Medium
o Large
o Jumbo

Another thing they got wrong is that the county is using a single envelope system where the voter inserts the ballot into the envelope and signs it. This means that the poll worker who opens the envelope can see how the person voted. Far better is the two-envelope system in which the ballot is inserted into a blank, unmarked, unsigned, white envelope, and this in turn is put into a larger signed envelope for mailing. Stage one of processing is to verify the signature on the outer envelope. If it is is valid, the sealed inner envelope is deposited in a ballot box for subsequent opening and counting. This system maintains the secrecy of the ballot.

In a number of CDs, the Democratic candidate is a former congressmen coming out of retirement. The Washington Post has a story on this today.

Projected New House*:     216 Democrats     218 Republicans     1 Tie
* Where no nonpartisan polls exist, the 2004 election results have been used. See complete House polls.
Senate election, House election, election 2006 Senate election, House election, election 2006 Senate election, House election, election 2006 Senate election, House election, election 2006 See the details of the Senate and House races with photos, maps, links, polls, etc.
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