The Daily Pulse:

Nobody Cares About Your Vote in Tennessee

Do you plan on voting in November's presidential election? Well, what's wrong with you? Nobody even cares about your vote. Obviously, this state is already designated to go for Mitt Romney, so just don't even bother showing up.

At least, that's the take you might get from a couple of national news organizations over the past two days, who have all but ceded the state to Romney. (So much for that liberal media bias, huh?) The Associated Press and all the television newtorks announced today that they're not even going to bother to do exit polls here, because we aren't, you know, a swing state.

Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Wednesday. The aim, he said, "is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states," in the face of mounting survey costs.

The decision by the National Election Pool -- a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press -- is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country. ...

Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won't be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.

Yeah, expense, whatever. They just don't want to bothered with even pretending to care about the so-called red states or the South, because guess what? That's where most of the excluded states are located! Other states getting the exit poll shaft are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia (which isn't even a real state), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. (I mean, Texas? The second most populous state in the country? And you aren't going to do exit polls there?)

But the AP and the networks aren't the only ones dismissing Tennessee this early in the race. On Tuesday, The New York Times had an article about all those new, restrictive Voter ID laws and how they're all getting struck down in court. Here's an excerpt:

With only a month left until Election Day, disputes around the country over new voter ID requirements, early voting, provisional ballots and registration drives are looking far less significant.

"Every voter restriction that has been challenged this year has been either enjoined, blocked or weakened," said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice, which is part of the New York University School of Law and opposes such restrictions. "It has been an extraordinary string of victories for those opposing these laws."

Voter ID laws have been taken off the table in Texas and Wisconsin. The Justice Department has blocked such a law in South Carolina, which has appealed in federal court. In Florida and Ohio, early voting and voter-registration drives have been largely restored. New Hampshire is going ahead with its law, but voters who do not have the required document will be permitted to vote and have a month to verify their identity.

Strict voter ID laws remain in Kansas, Indiana, Georgia and Tennessee, but they are not seen as battleground states. 

Yep. That's right. Tennessee's voter ID law actually has been challenged in court, and the challenges (to this point) have gone nowhere, BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER IF VOTERS HERE ARE DISENFRANCHISED BECAUSE WE AREN'T A BATTLEGROUND STATE. Especially because those elderly and black disenfranchised voters would totally have all voted for Romney, you know.

This should piss you off. All of this should really piss you off, whether you're planning on helping turn the state bright crimson or whether you are holding out a prayer that your vote could help swing the state the palest shade of baby blue. Because there are a lot of other candidates on the ballot besides Romney and Obama (and whoever the third party presidential candidates are)--there are Congressional races, state legislative races, and local charter amendments that could change how this city and county run itself going forward. Your vote is really fucking important in Tennessee, even if every national news organization has written you off.

So here's your challenge: 

Make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline is next Monday, by the way, so you're running out of time. You can print out and mail this form, as long as it's postmarked by Saturday. (The post offices will all be closed on Monday for Columbus Day, and the registration form must be postmarked before Oct. 8. However, the Election Commission WILL NOT be closed for the holiday, so you can hand deliver it too.)

Make sure you have valid photo ID. Driver's license centers will even be open this Saturday, so your busy work week is no excuse.

Go vote already. Early voting starts Oct. 17. Here's when and where you can do it. If you like waiting for the big day itself, check your current polling location here

There is no excuse not to vote, unless you are actually legally prohibited from voting or suffering from some kind of physical ailment preventing you from leaving the hospital or something. Prove those suckers in the national news wrong--I mean they're wrong all the time, you know. Like, they all predicted an Obama smackdown last night, and lord knows that didn't happen. Show those know-it-alls how little they know by showing up at the polls and making your vote count.


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