Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Alphabet and All That

This has been a very busy week! The last three weeks of a campaign are a little bit like childbirth- lots of anticipation, lots of joy and a whole lot of pain. Of course, also like child birth, you really don't remember the pain. Otherwise, no one would ever work or volunteer on a political campaign more than once.

That said, I got a little Georgia Civics 101 education today when I got a copy of the sample ballot and saw that in all the races, the Republican is listed first, regardless of the alphabet, regardless of incumbency. I thought that it was a Bibb County screw up until I called the DPG. Nope. The party of the Governor determines who is listed first in each race. That's the way it was when Democrats were in power, too. In close races this year, this cannot be good for Dems. And, I had no idea this was the rule. See, and you all thought I was a political junkie...:)
That said, ballot placement is important. Some people estimate that it can draw four or five % of the vote for the person listed first. Don't you think that in an age of electronic voting when machines can randomize selection, that we should move to a system that does not advantage on candidate over another simply because of their party affiliation, or the alphabet, for that matter?
Maybe this one is ripe for litigation.

2 comments:

Button Gwinnett said...

California is one state that does ballot randomization. They've always used some sort of form of E-voting so it wasn't too hard for them to do. The difference is that the majority of the type equipment they were using was dedicated to one particular ballot combination. Our machines accomodate any ballot combination available at a particular precinct because we use coded cards as keys to the machine.

It's a good thought and maybe we should randomize our ballots to make things more fair to everyone. But our system is still new, and we probably should continue working out the kinks before setting that goal.

Tina said...

I think that there may be a "home court" advantage to someone's name being listed first. How do we challenge it? As for forgetting the pain after childbirth and/or elections, I will have to put in an informed opinion here. Have had two babies and still remember the pain quite well---I also still remember the pain of seeing George Bush take over the White House & I surely don't want to go through the pain of another Republican administration.