I voted today. I went to the county courthouse and stood in line for 45 minutes to cast my electronic ballot. It was a smooth process. But, I worry that the United States electoral system might get overwhelmed on election day. Even if the electronic voting machines work correctly, and they usually do, I worry there might not be enough of them.
I think both campaigns, particularly Obama’s given his reliance on two voting blocs that traditionally have a lower turnout rate (youth and blacks), need to give their supporters a pep talk. This week, Obama will address the nation during a 30-minute television advertisement. Along with the lofty rhetoric for which he has become adored, Obama needs to prepare his supporters, many of them first-time voters, for the long lines and potential suppression tactics they might encounter. He needs to emphasize the historic nature of this election, and the sense of solidarity and patriotism one gets from braving the long lines on election day. The key for the Obama camp is to address these issues without doing more harm than good. After all, he doesn’t want to depress voter turnout by reminding voters ahead of time what a pain in the ass it can be to participate in electoral politics.