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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Devils in Details

As the final results begin to dribble in, we are learning anew about crucial state and even local variations in how certain ballots are counted. This is particularly true of early/absentee ballots, which some places count first, some last, and some mixed in with Election Day votes.
In my home state of Georgia, big sacks of uncounted early votes seem to be turning up around metro Atlanta. In the one precise account we have, Fulton County (Atlanta) officials are acknowledging that they sent “exhausted” election workers home last night with about 12,000 early votes still untabulated. This news surfaced at about the same time that Republican Senator Saxby Chambless’ vote totals slipped just under the 50% necessary to avoid a runoff in Georgia’s strange system (creating an extra hangover for GOPers who prematurely celebrated a Chambliss win last night).
There are unconfirmed rumors of uncounted early votes elsewhere in metro Atlanta. But unless offset, the Fulton County ballots should guarantee a runoff, given the heavy African-American tilt of early voting in that county. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, this would be a major boon to newly unemployed campaign workers from both parties, who will flood the Peach State for the next four weeks. The CW is that Republicans always win these sort of stand-alone runoffs (that’s exactly what happened in the last statewide general election runoff in Georgia, in 1992), but it’s hard to say what will happen if Barack Obama campaigns personally for Jim Martin and Democrats outspend Republicans as heavily as they probably can.

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