Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Early Voting In Fort Bend County

So I early voted today.

I usually don’t go in the first day despite what they tell me about how your vote will count even if you get hit by a freight train the next day on your way to work. I trust to luck and train crossing guard gates that I can wait until the second day when the poll workers have all of the kinks knocked out of the system.

Especially this year because this year the Fort Bend County Elections Office has seen fit to hold a “joint primary.” That is, you stand in one line and tell the poll worker which party’s primary you want to vote in. They say it’s better to do that than to stand in the short (Democratic) line. I hardly see the advantage.

But that is what our Party Chair agreed to, much to the glee of Rick Miller, the GOP County Chair. I wonder if Rick Miller will be glad or sad when he finds out that Steve Brown is replacing her this time around?

But I digress . . .

I compared the first day of early voting totals to that of 2/19/2008, which I have listed here.

Yesterday, the first day of early voting saw a grand total of 333 Democratic voters come in to vote. Compare that to 1710 early votes in 2008.

Now granted, 2008 was a big year for Texas primary voters, especially Democratic ones where the nominee for President wasn’t really apparent until May. But I thought I would work some proportions and see how the voter turnout is going to go this year – or more to the point, how bad it was going to be.

So OK, in 2008 we had 70,330 Democratic voters show up at the polls in Fort Bend County, that’s 25.96% of the total number of registered voters in the county, and yes, that is double the number of Republican voters who voted (McCain was already their nominee at that point).

If you work a simple proportion, hoping that all things are equal, and fully acknowledging that this is based on some very scant data, and that these results are too scary to base one’s reputation on, nevertheless here is what yesterday’s turnout predicts:

In the 2010 election, 13,573 Fort Bend County Democrats will stream to the polls if this one-day “trend” holds.

Compare that to the 2006 mid-term primary elections where a total of 6,550 voters showed up.

Do I really think that the turn out will double this year? Actually no, but I suspect that the truth will lie somewhere between 2006 turnout and my “prediction” based on one data point.

Because I also apply the Half Empty Poll Worker Index (HEPWI). That index ranges from 0 to 100 and is essentially the percentage of early voting location poll workers who have out in front of them either a crossword puzzle or a Sudoku puzzle.

Today, the HEPWI was 100.

These were some pretty bored poll workers. They even occupy their time listening to how fast, or slow, a voter hits the vote button. They actually complimented me on my speed, saying that most voters come in and don’t even know who is on the ballot.

And yes, I do live in a heavily Republican area. You do THAT math.

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