David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

How the other half votes, from TPM Reader DP:

I was directly behind RNC Chair Ken Mehlman this morning when I came out to vote. He lives up my street on Capitol Hill. When a poll worker asked whether he wanted to vote on an electronic machine or use a traditional pencil and paper ballot, he chose the latter.

So Mehlman won't drink from the poison cup? Actually, DP says the line for paper ballots was much shorter than for the electronic machines.

The Free Enterprise Fund is at it again. The Republican 527 group is running TV ads against Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois 6th urging viewers to call her home phone number. As we reported here a few days ago, the group was doing the same thing to Jon Tester in Montana.

MSNBC is using GOP superlawyer Ben Ginsberg--of Florida recount and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth fame (among others)--as its resident lawyer for its Election Day coverage.

The liberal media indeed.

So many phone calls about voting questions/problems in Columbus, Ohio, that the county's phone system crashed:

Franklin County's phone system was returned to service about 90 minutes after it collapsed today under a crush of calls from voters and poll workers.

The volume of calls “overwhelmed the system,” Franklin County Elections Director Matthew Damschroder said.

Phones returned to normal about 9:30 a.m. The system also went down during the May 2 primary, delaying final returns until 2 a.m.

Damschroder said the system could not handle the quantity of calls from voters needing help to figure out where to vote and from poll workers needing help figuring out how to set up new electronic machines.

Polls opened at 6:30 today with relatively short lines but glitches at several polling places.

From Chicagoland, TPM Reader MS reports:

I live in Arlington Heights, IL, outside of Chicago. I'm in Mark Kirk's House District. This morning none of the electronic voting machines were working. Therefore the wait to vote was around 30 minutes, since they were using paper ballots.

As an aside, on the table next to the election judges was a box of donuts from the Republican Party of Wheeling Township, thanking the election judges for their service. Democray (and bribery) in action!

If we're down to donuts, then Chicago ain't what it used to be.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to check whether there was any kind of last-minute election-altering surprise.

No Osama.

No bombing of Iran.

No military strike against North Korea.

The best Rove came up with was Saddam's death sentence, and with Iraq weighing Republicans down like concrete shoes the additional focus that story brought to Iraq was a mixed blessing.

For my part, I thought there was a better than even chance of U.S. bombing raids against Iran before the election. So--I'll say it---I was wrong.

But there is a long list of TPM readers who were absolutely, positively, without a doubt convinced that Rove had at least one more ace up his sleeve that would throw the election into chaos and to the GOP. I'm not talking about tactical tricks like the robocalls, but big, election-shifting tricks that consume all the air in the room. Didn't happen.

To be sure, the wizard is still behind the curtain furiously working the levers of power. Today we'll find out whether voters finally decide to pull back the curtain.

And from Sullivan County, Tennessee, where TPM Reader SJ tried to vote:

Went to my precinct to vote and all 3 machines were not working. This precinct has a lot of lower-income families and public housing. They finally got one of the machines going, but the lines were out the door - I waited close to an hour and had to get to work. I wasn't the only one - most of those leaving were young(er) working people more likely to vote Democratic. I'll be coming back later to vote, but how many of those that left will be able to do that? You would think the machines would have at least been tested and working before the actual election day.

We're not going to be able to post every anecdote like this that we receive today. It would be beside the point. We'll be looking for trends and patterns. But regardless of whether you subscribe to deep, dark conspiracy theories of GOP election trickery, voting should be easy, accurate, and fair. It's not. The system is broken.

From TPM Reader EL in Florida:

Just in case you're keeping tabs, I wanted to tell you that my wife tried to vote in our precinct in Tampa and was not on the list. After several tries to find out why, she was told that the voter database was "cleaned" and there must have been a mistake. I'm trying to find out who "cleaned" it.

We are keeping tabs.