Voters: Confused, Disenfranchised

According to this Yahoo! story one in every five voters could still be "swayed", as they certainly don't approve of Bush, but they're still unsure about Kerry's leadership skills:

In an election where most voters have already chosen sides, the presidency could be decided by a small slice of America in the mushy middle — wavering voters who are more likely than others to question President Bush (news - web sites)'s honesty and think the war in Iraq (news - web sites) was a mistake.

An Associated Press study of 1,329 "persuadable" voters, conducted by Knowledge Networks in advance of the presidential debates, suggests these people are deeply conflicted about change in the White House. While they have problems with Bush, they also have doubts about Democratic Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites)'s leadership skills and believe Bush is best suited to protect the nation.

... It's possible many persuadable voters will stay home Nov. 2 out of frustration with their choices, but there are enough of them floating in the political center to alter the race for the White House.

"I don't want to see Bush get in, but I don't want to vote Kerry just to keep Bush out," said Grace Elliott, a 70-year-old retiree from Portland, Ore. She opposes the president's conduct of the war but says of Kerry: "He just makes me feel uneasy."

Bush and Kerry are pitching their campaign rhetoric to voters like Elliott, with the Republican incumbent calling his challenger a vacillator who can't be trusted to lead the nation at war while Kerry accuses Bush of misleading the people on Iraq and other issues.

... There was some hope for Kerry in one subsection of the 937 persuadable voters. Among the purely undecideds (about 22 percent):

_ Kerry was slightly favored over Bush on who would best handle Iraq, with more than one-fifth of undecided voters not choosing either candidate. That suggests many undecided voters are withholding judgment, perhaps until the three debates that begin Thursday.

_ They favor change more than voters leaning toward Bush or Kerry, with 54 percent saying it's worth the risk of swapping leaders in uncertain times.

"I would like to hear the debate because I'm hoping when I listen to Kerry he will tell me what his plans are" for Iraq, said Wanda Ramsey, an Owasso, Okla., retiree who had had leaned toward Kerry but is now undecided.

Interesting view of how people haven't quite made their minds up yet. Here's hoping thursday brings closure to the minds of some of those voters. I honestly don't see how people can still disagree with the war on Iraq yet still somehow vote for Bush. Honestly, Kerry can't be that bad a leader. He's a former lawyer, a long-time senator and a well-regarded war hero(at least to those who actually served with him).

If you can imagine it, some people(mostly republicans) are attempting to disenfranchise voters during this election:

When voter registration applications were maintained for years and used to verify signatures for petitions a requirement that the cards be on 80 lb. stock paper was adopted in Ohio, that law remains on the books. Since the applications are now scanned for preservation, there is no current need to continue that requirement. Today the only time that the heavy weight paper becomes an issue is when the new voter uses the application as a postcard. If heavy paper isn't used for postcards the machinery jams at the Post Office.

In the final days before the registration deadline Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, has ordered the local election boards to send out new applications to applicants who have submitted registrations on the wrong paper. The ostensible reason for this order is to insure that the applications can make it through the postal system without being damaged. The Secretary didn't point to any examples of voters who were stupid enough to mail regular weight paper as a postcard, nor did he cite examples of complaints from the Postal Service that this has been a problem. Never mind also that the applications he wants thrown out have already been delivered to the election boards safely.

The local boards have been bombarded with applications and will be unable to comply with Blackwell's order before the deadline to register to vote for this November's election. In one county common sense has prevailed:
In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) the board of elections officials are ignoring the edict because they have already had an avalanche of new registrations submitted on forms printed on the newsprint in The Plain Dealer.

"We don't have a micrometer at each desk to check the weight of the paper," said Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County election Board.

Ironically, if an applicant downloaded the federal form onto paper that is not regulation, that application will be accepted in compliance with federal law. So in reality there is no substantive issue with the weight of the paper, the Secretary's order is simply to create a roadblock to limit new registration.

Ironic, as well, that this happens in a "battleground state", run by a republican, which appears to be going down to the wire. Almost seems like we've seen this sort of thing before.

Lastly, thought I'd mention that oil prices continue to surge and show no signs of stopping. Indeed, it was a very good year.
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