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Balloting techniques

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BBC blog

Balloting techniques

* Justin Webb

* 22 Jan 08, 03:44 AM GMT

Has Barack Obama already lost? I ask this after receiving the following from a well-informed person with connections in New England and New York State on the technique of absentee ballot organisation:

"You go to a primary state when no-one else is working it hard. You work it hard. You tell them you will be back. As soon as your visit is over, you remind the people (New Hampshire) that the weather at primary time can be really bad... and there may not be any car pool since every one is so strapped for cash, your local organizer is susceptible to flu, etc. etc. You convince them to file an absentee ballot, just in case, so their vote counts.

"Now, get this, you're Hillary's tout so guess who you are pushing for that ballot paper - that you just happen to have with you. Here are the words the woman I talked to let slip she said to an absentee voter: 'Hillary really appreciates your support,' as you stand over them filling out their ballot. It's a woman thing, especially older women.

"There was another line that I think is particularly onerous with old-age pensioners - this may be their last chance to vote for a woman president - to make their vote count."

Now my contact - who is not a conspiracy theorist or fantasist - believes this (perfectly legal) pressure was used by Hillary in New Hampshire and might have made the difference on the day (or before it) and, more important, is being used in many other states as well. And it could make the difference between winning and losing on Super Tuesday.

Has the Obama campaign - fuelled by dreams and guided by 26-year-old speechwriters with golden pens, and the audacity of hope etc etc - actually messed up big time when it comes to the nitty gritty business of getting people to vote, not just on the day (which is what the media has focused on) but BEFORE the day as well...

"It's not the years; it's the mileage." Indiana Jones

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