Election Day 2014 LiveBlog

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[Image courtesy of nytimes]

My goal is to update this post throughout the day … watch this space and @HHHElections for coverage of the day’s news and events.

545am (all times Eastern): say what you will about Twitter, but it allows you to watch election officials wake up and report for duty across the country… Every single one of them enthusiastic about the day. It’s easy to see they love their jobs!

You can start your day with a little brainfood – the New York Times has a “Room for Debate” feature with Rick Hasen, Heather Gerken and others on whether a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote is necessary. Check it out.

6am: A few Election Day menu notes courtesy of electionline – you still can’t buy a muffin at the polls in Rhode Island, but you can buy liquor in South Carolina. Plan accordingly.

700am – The Columbus Dispatch has a paean to pollworkers – I heartily agree!

730am: Sad news from Virginia … Prince Edward registrar Dale Bolt passed away last night. Area registrars and the State Board of Elections are all pitching in to help today.

745am: Liquor sales may be legal in South Carolina, but Oklahoma election officials want voters to know it’s illegal to bring “intoxicating liquors” within half a mile of a polling place or be intoxicated within 300 feet of a polling place. Plan accordingly.

815am: Lots of election officials reporting large early morning numbers … morning rush or could low turnout estimates be wrong? We’ll see!

830am: Google, Facebook and other tech companies are doing their bit to encourage turnout – The Hill has more.

840am: electionline has its first Election Day dispatch – and it’s been a rough start in Hartford, CT

845am: OSU’s Ned Foley blogs his experience … how did it go? Here’s the headline: “I EXPERIENCED POLL WORKER ERROR“.

855am: Not to be outdone, Pew’s elections team is filing Election Day dispatches too!

920am: Here’s a fascinating real-time visualization of Facebook “I Voted” check-ins across the nation: https://www.facebook.com/midtermelections/ivoted

930am: Observing check-in here in Minneapolis – student just found out that her online registration had been processed in time; made a “YAY” gesture that I wish I’d gotten on camera!

1000am: Polls now open on the west coast – waiting for next batch of early morning stories!

1045am: Interesting Tweet from Johnson County, IA’s Travis Weipert – “With over 26,000 absentee ballots turned in we’re predicting this will be our first governor year with more early votes than election day”.

1055am: Looks like a judge will decide if Hartford’s early morning troubles will result in extended polling hours, the Stamford Advocate says.

1105am: Ballot “selfies” are illegal in most states, but those prohibitions are rarely enforced, says Time’s Tessa Berenson.

1115am: BREAKING – UC-Irvine’s Rick Hasen hates democracy and fun.

1130am: Over 19 million votes have already been cast before Election Day even began, according to Michael McDonald of the U.S. Election Project.

1135am: electionline’s 1130am update is posted!

1155am: The U.S Vote Foundation and Overseas Vote Foundation are conducting a post-election survey to find out about the voting experience – find it here.

1230pm: One of my favorite things about Election Day is the steady stream of photos from across the country – and this one from Santa Cruz, CA’s Gail Pellerin might be one of my favorite ever!

1240pm: Pew’s David Becker has this op-ed in several papers today … the key graf:

One thing this election cycle has taught us is that although recent court battles and political arguments over voter identification laws, gerrymandering, and the Voting Rights Act tend to grab the headlines, election officials across the political spectrum are improving how well elections actually work by implementing some of the technological improvements the private sector has been using for years. Consumers — in this case, voters — want the convenience, accessibility, and mobility offered by new technologies. This has led to a quiet revolution in red and blue states alike that has made the voting process more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient. After all, we’re accustomed to using our smartphones and laptops to pay bills, book flights, and scan the news. So why not use them to register to vote or find out where to cast a ballot?

1250pm: OSU’s Ned Foley and Kentucky’s Josh Douglas have an NYT piece on provisional ballots entitled “The Vote You Save May Be Your Own.

100pm: Wearing your “I Voted” sticker with pride? The Detroit Free Press digs in on why and how it’s become a badge of honor.

115pm: South Dakota’s results will be delayed tonight because one county – Shannon – opened late this morning, Secretary Gant says.

200pm: It wouldn’t be Election Day without allegations of “vote-flipping” with accompanying video – and thanks to NewsNinja, it’s Election Day!

235pm: That’s not good … a bomb threat suspended voting at Los Angeles County’s Palisades High School, but Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan reports on Twitter that voting has been relocated to a nearby church … “voting never stops!”

245pm: electionline’s midday update just posted!

250pm: Think Election Day is boring? Check out this graf from the latest electionline update:

As with every election there have been a hodgepodge of unexpected issues affecting voting. In Tucson, Arizona a gas leak closed one polling place. Los Angeles County, California voters were evacuated from a polling place after a bomb threat. In Brentwood, Pennsylvania, a small fire in a polling place caused a bit of a scare that closed the polls for about 40 minutes. And in Volusia County, Florida there was a report of an attempted abduction outside of a polling place.

300pm: Johnson County, IA’s Travis Weipert having second thoughts after high early turnout: “We thought heavy early voting would cut into Election Day, but not so far … Maybe we won’t hit that milestone of more early votes than Election Day votes after all.”

420pm: Back from a short break (sometimes even hard-core election geeks need to take a walk) … here’s a video to accompany that Columbus Dispatch pollworker editorial earlier today.

440pm: Richland County, SC – which has had way more than it share of problems in the last few years – says it’s ready and is hoping to get it right this year. We’ll see …

500pm: Rapper Lil’ Jon, whose “Turn Out for What” video was a viral pre-election hit, ended up flying cross-country to Georgia to cast his ballot after not receiving his absentee ballot in time. Georgia SoS Brian Kemp has opened an investigation, but Fulton County (Atlanta) is going with a “blame the voter” strategy, according to the Washington Post:

Rick Barron, Fulton County’s director of registration and elections, says the ballot’s in the mail. His office received Lil Jon’s request on Friday, Oct. 24, and sent him a ballot on Mon., Oct. 27. “He had six months before the election, and unfortunately, he waited until the end of that period,” Barron tells us. “It’s probably going to show up when he gets back.”

530pm: Speaking of Georgia, the state is taking considerable heat for the lengthy outage of its elections website. TPM and others have the story.

540pm: From STN’s Scott Roberts on Twitter – Hartford Superior Court judge rules that 2 polling places in Hartford to remain open until 8:30 p.m.

640pm: Another Election Day, another Rick Hasen-inspired shutdown of an (illegal) giveaway to voters – this time in San Diego. NOTE: Giving free/reduced items to everyone on Election Day doesn’t violate the rule … so while Rick is a spoilsport on “I Voted” stickers he’s right (as usual) here.

700pm: Here’s electionline’s 7pm update … polls are closing – but not everywhere, and in some places not on time.

705pm: Hartford’s terrible, horrible no good day continues as SoS Merrill says on Twitter that “We will get to the bottom of why Hartford #election officials were not prepared for Election Day and hold accountable those responsible … I am referring the actions of Hartford’s Registrars of Voters to the State Elections Enforcement Commission for investigation”.

710pm: NPR’s Russell Lewis reports on Twitter that the North Carolina State Board of Elections is “holding an emergency meeting now – to decide extending poll closures in 3 counties.” [FOLLOWUP – They did in Robeson County, where a precinct ran out of ballots.]

745pm: Shutting down this live blog and switching to Twitter until I give out … thanks for joining me and see you tomorrow for the aftermath!

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