Nearly 120 million voted in 2004 Presidential elections, one of the highest turnovers until 2008. There was mainstream media screaming about hours long queues, the exponential surge in democratic voter rolls, the astronomical surge in youth voting, of course a generational promise to be fulfilled and experienced for Black voters, we all expected to break the 2004 record by a mile and half. I was curious to see the data. Guess what the final tally stands at an impressive 126 million. Impressive certainly, but given the hoopla one could be forgiven to thinking that the numbers would be eye popping. It is not. So what happened to those queues that we saw in Atlanta, Florida, Georgia, NC (25% in Raleigh had finished voting through early balloting).
Here is my surmise. Ever since the Florida recount mess up in 2000 there was constant chatter of how the villainous Republicans would disenfranchise Blacks, poor voters etc. This is the 24 hour news cycle so lets add demos by Princeton Univ Prof who showed how "easy" it is to divert votes from Obama to McCain by changing just one microprocessor in 5 minutes. The show was moderated by a Black comedian. All this left first time voters and especially Blacks with an apprehension and not wanting to be seen as not having done their bit they thronged early. Then the rest, also fearing long lines on election day, thronged earlier because after all every so called "expert" (where do they grow) was pontificating on record breaking turnout, election machine break downs, oh there was Lou Dobbs as usual ranting on somebody subverting democracy.
Against all that backdrop the early voting did indeed surge and take the sting out of election day. Amidst the euphoria of Barack being elected nobody bothered to call the networks to task on fear mongering and plain exaggerations.
PS: For ages leftists ranted about how conservative neocon judges in US Supreme court selected George Bush. Nobody squeaked a protest when the SAME SC sided with democratic state official of Ohio on a technicality in preventing a widely accepted fraud by ACORN in registering voters in Ohio. Of course for every left wing nut who rants on Florida for Al Gore there is a right wing nut raving about how Daley "fixed" Chicago for JFK. What goes around comes around.