[Sometimes I run across original research, original analysis, or hard-to-get information that is exactly the kind of stuff I live for - well thought out, well written, well researched commentary, the kind that your media experts get by the pound but think is too much for you to understand. The author goes by the handle Volvo Driving Liberal at the progressive political website DailyKos, where we are both active members. He has given me permission to publish his comments here. Enjoy]

Yesterday I went to the DeKalb County Voter office in Decatur, Georgia to cast my early vote and was absolutely overwhelmed by what I saw. Traffic in and out of the facilty parking lock was pure gridlock and obviously a precursor to what I saw inside. Lines snaked throughout the interior of the building in a well organized and coordinated manner, but what was shocking was the pure volume of people.

At least 800 were in line at the time I was in the facility based on my best guestimate. I spoke with several pollworkers and one told me they anticipated processing 10000+ voters yesterday on top of 26000 processed between the beginning of early voting on Sept. 22 through last Friday. Not only was the sheer volume of people a sight to behold, but the demographic mix was even more incredible.

In a county that is 55% African American, at least 95% of voters participating in the early voting program yesterday were African American! Another pollworker who told me he had been voluteering for years, said that he had never, ever seen such overwhelming turnout and enthusiasm.

Granted, yesterday was the last day for new voter registration in GA, but the line to the new voter registration desk was relatively small. The overwhelming majority of voters in line were already registered.

My only regret yesterday was that I didn't bring a camera to record the impact of what I saw. The passion and excitement of the men and women waiting in line to vote was palpable. Although many anecdotal stories never bear fruition in the big picture, I am going to go out on a limb and forecast that African American turnout in GA will blow way past forecasts, based on what I saw yesterday. If that happens, coupled with lack of passion on the part of Rethugs/Fundies, Saxby Chambliss is toast and Barack Obama could pull a surprise upset.

According the Atlanta Journal Constitution in this article here, the Georgia Secretary of State is estimating a very disproportionately high 39% of early voters are African Americans. The African American community represents 29% of registered voters in GA and cast 25% of the vote in the 2004 Presidential election.

This is all happening for a reason. The state Democratic Party and the Obama campaign have operated a well organized effort to register new voters and get them to the polls and the effort has paid off.....

"Don't Wait in '08" Program

According to the AJC:

Local party officials have been pushing early voting.

Melanie Goux, a vice chairman of the Fulton County Democratic Party said party officials launched a program months ago — Don’t Wait In 08 — to encourage early voting and registration.

The program is deliberately low-tech, and aimed at an audience that won’t be reached by the Obama campaign’s web-based get-out-the-vote efforts, Goux said.

"The African American community is not a monolith," Goux said. "We have a large section that is affluent and can be reached through the Internet. And we have a section that is low tech. We need to get the information to people who don’t use the web."

DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties have all launched early voting programs modeled on Fulton’s, Goux said.

Couple a blowout African American turnout with predictably strong performance in the liberal enclaves of Atlanta, Athens and to some extent Savannah, we can win this thing. Don't write Georgia off. We can win here.

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dave crockett said...

my big concern with early or absentee voting is getting the votes counted.

that's probably not as big a concern in Atlanta metro as some other places. i recall reading in some of the work Greg Palast has done that in many places election officials are not required to count such votes. it's at their discretion. many absentee ballots for instance are never counted by anyone.

dave crockett said...

By the way, here is the link to Palast's "Steal Back Your Vote."


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Let's hope they steal this election too.

plez... said...

i live in DeKalb County, Georgia and i voted during the first week of early voting ... there was a line to vote, but it was nowhere near the volume that i hear is now voting.

currently, most of the hits that my blog receives is for the post that shows all of the early voting locations in the state.

there are signs all over the county encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting. my wife plans to vote on friday when she gets off work... the republicans may just be in for a surprise when the votes are counted on november 4th.

Brown Man said...

We will either vote tomorrow or the first of next week. I'm in North Fulton, and can walk to my polling place - and I don't walk ANYWHERE, so its that close. We don't usually have any problems, but you never know.

I'm sure there is someone somewhere trying to conjure up a Hurricane Mike to whip through the south like it did the gulf so they can play the old "we can't read the ballots anymore" game.

Shay said...

My husband was saying he didn't think people should vote early or absentee because he was worried their votes wouldn't be counted but I think with numbers like these there is no way they can be ignored. The campaign will keep track of things and hold local officials accountable. The only downside that I see is that it gives McCain a big head's up.

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