November 2 at 7 am, polls will open for the 2010 General Election. In the meantime, the state election commission is not only busy preparing voting machines and ballots, but voters as well.
One of the commission’s jobs is to make sure explanations of statewide referendum questions are included on the ballot. Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire:
Questions that are passed by the general assembly, they’re drafted by lawyers, they’re written in legal-ese, and they’re not the easiest things to understand to the laymen. State law says that there’s a constitutional ballot commission that’s made up of the director of the election commission, the attorney general, and the director of legislative counsel, and they get together and come up with an explanation of the amendment that’s written as closely as possible to plain language.
And Whitmire of the commission says voters can begin reading those questions and explanations now on the election commission website. A practical reason for doing this homework, says Whitmire, is that it’s the constitutional questions that hold people up in the voting booth–if they get that far.
It’s called “voter fatigue” —
The voter fatigue phenomenon is as you move through the ballot, more and more voters drop off. Go look at even the primary election results, or go look at the 2008 general election results–they’re there on our website. You can just go through and look at them. Go office to office and you can look at the vote totals and see them drop off as you move down the ballot.
Unavailability is not an excuse, either. With the recent launch of SCabsentee.com, voters can submit their information online, which directly sends an e-mail to the county voter registration office requesting an absentee ballot application form.
You have to meet one of 15 reasons to cast an absentee ballot, and some of the most used reaons are people aged 65 and older, people with disabilities, and people who can’t make it to the polling place on Election Day because they’re working during the polling hours, or they’re going to be out of town on vacation during the polling hours.
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 2–and that includes updating an address.
The election commission is also always looking for poll managers and there is a need for new recruits. Even high school students can work as poll manager assistants and make $120 for the election.
More information is available online or call the county election commission.