#1 The Weather May Be a Voter Turnout Challenge
Mother nature could suppress voter turnout in some parts of the country as weather conditions are a touch adversarial with rain and the wind affecting parts of the East, South and Midwest with potential of snow from there to the Northern Plains, according to the Seattle Times/New York Times.
#2 Elections Technology is Malfunctioning in Some Places
Voting machines, often scrutinized for not keeping pace with technology, can simply run out of batteries, as in Snellville, Goergia, though power was restored in the morning. Voter frustrations also mount when equipment goes buggy and results in wait times. In Gwinnett County, Georgia, the “ExpressPoll system” caused voters to wait in line for hours, according to Associated Press via Slate.com.
Likewise, local election commissions are not immune to organizational — and human errors — over the course of the day, which happen as equipment is delivered, accessed, set up and temporary polls are organized in places like schools and firehouses.
Smart Tech Note: What’s not malfunctioning is the West Virginia overseas blockchain voting pilot. About 140 living abroad in 29 countries have cast their election ballots through the tool, according to the Washington Post.
#3 It’s Anyone’s Guess if Millennials (& Gen Z) Get to the Polls
The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics National Youth Poll, which has been projecting high youth turnout in 2018, said the most recent Fall 2018 poll indicates that Millennial and Generation Z voters will turn out in historically high numbers. But, the PRRI/The Atlantic survey, also released this month, said only one in three of them will vote.
However, USA Today is reporting that early and absentee voting among youth aged 18 to 29 increased dramatically in several states, citing Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada and Texas, compared to the 2014 midterm races.
CBS Chicago is reporting especially high turnout where Millennial populations are high:
Editorial Update: November 8, 2018. The youth vote didn’t dominate.
#4 Election Cybersecurity is ‘Fluid’
Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its state and local partners have reported that the 2018 Midterm Elections are more secure from interference that elections of the past, the Center for Strategic and International Studies Election Cybersecurity Scorecard gave states a C- grade overall in election cybersecurity.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that DHS and today’s election cybersecurity control centers, such as the one at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), are ready, but acknowledged the threat picture could change as reports from states and local election officials could come in throughout the day.
Facebook reportedly halted 115 accounts that may be connected to foreign actors attempting to spread misinformation, according to CNBC.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 6, 2018
#5 It’s a Televised Waiting Game — But There’s Apps, Too
According to The Times Free Press, polls start closing at 6 p.m. EST in Kentucky and then at 7 p.m., when polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia, followed 30 minutes later by North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. At 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. other states, like Texas and Pennsylvania, offer reports. But West Coast numbers are expected after 11 p.m. and then finally Alaska’s results at 1 a.m. November 7th with results often generating throughout the night after an election.
The Public Affairs Council surveyed its members to find out what people are doing on Election Night 2018 and are using it to increase its membership:
— PublicAffairsCouncil (@PACouncil) November 6, 2018
You have to join to get the survey results, but the Council’s tweets share some comments.
Editor’s Note: While waiting, opt to read the I Voted sticker’s story on Time.com.
Access our previous coverage of the 2018 Midterms: