Friday, May 18, 2012

Redistricting, Unresolved

When it comes to predicting turnout, I'm especially good at nailing the number the day after the election.

Until then, of course, it's a guess.  I'm usually not that far off, though.

Since the day after the 2008 presidential election, I've been preparing for a drop in Johnson County turnout in 2012, from 78 percent to 75 percent.  I just think the 2008 election had an energy level that I didn't think would be repeated in 2012.

If I'm right, though, the story line in the newspapers will be that Photo ID suppressed turnout.  Not in effect in 2008, the new Photo ID law will be listed as the reason turnout dropped. 

Again, IF I'm right (and we all win if I'm wrong and the turnout is higher), I'll be pointing people back to this post.

Likewise, I point you now  to something I've said many places in the past 18 months: "For me photo ID isn’t even in the top 10 issues for 2012."

My post on Monday provides a sense of an item on my top 10 list.  We're up to about 75 machines that have power supplies "certified fried," by the way.  We're still evaluating.

Another worry came with the census and this one may impact turnout negatively and drop my 75 percent prediction.

We have no idea what state races we will have in the August primary.  By, "no idea," I mean, we don't know the legislative districts involved, the boundaries, or the candidates. 

We don't completely know the election date, even.  We thought the August 7 date could be moved by legislative action, but that idea seems to have died. 

That puts us a little more than a month away from the last date we can send ballots to military and overseas voters, and we got nothin'.

The filing deadline of June 1 has moved to June 11 for some races because the legislature has not approved plans for redistricting.  The new drawings aren't supposed to do this, but rumor has it they will split some precincts, which means some precinct committee candidates who file by June 1 likely will find out they aren't running after all because their precinct changed after the June 1 filing deadline.

New candidates have an uphill battle, I think, running against incumbents, so some people are likely sitting on the sidelines waiting to file but wanting assurance they aren't running against a Juggernaut.  Many will have a tiny window, or a knothole, to make the decision and get filed.

The issue seems destined to be settled by the courts, maybe by the end of May, maybe by June 4, or maybe later.  With many potential candidates hanging loose, there probably will be some uncontested races, and that's the ultimate turnout-killer.

Of course, voters will come out to vote for president, but there are some voters who only come to vote for their neighbor or friend in a local race. 

So, we're still riding the storm. 

I absolutely, absolutely hate the overused "Perfect Storm" phrase.   As Americans, it seems we encounter a Perfect Storm somewhere every day. 

Besides, it seems a compliment to call what we're going through a Perfect Storm.  There's plenty of imperfection at play. 

But, it's a storm, and rapidly becoming a Twister.