Weekend Digest: How A Hurricane Hinders A National Election

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 3 views 

For our weekend political readers:

The toll from Sandy is unprecedented, and now to make the headaches even worse the storm’s devastation has caused more havoc as elections officials across the Northeast scramble to figure out how to proceed with voting next week given widespread flooding, damaged roads and power outages.

“My concern is people won’t be able to get to polling places if roads are blocked,” said Peggy Reeves, Connecticut’s director of elections. “The election has to go on, and we have to figure out a way to do it.”

Besides shifting to paper ballots because of power outages, the Wall Street Journal has outlined other moves officials may take on election day including changing polling sites.

States also may lengthen voting hours if circumstances warrant, but they may not extend voting beyond Election Day unless Congress allows it, which seems unlikely.

Read the entire story here to learn more about the challenges that must be overcome to get out the vote in storm-ravaged areas.
Another possible casualty caused by Hurricane Sandy is Gallup polling along its destructive path.

Sandy has affected Gallup’s “ability of a national survey to provide a nationally representative assessment of the nation’s voting population.”

Politico explains more about the dilemma facing Gallup and whether it will resume polling.

It’s true.  There are a lot of lies told during political campaigns, but why do people believe them, and why do lies tend to stick even after they’re debunked by facts?  Psychology Today has some answers.

Some new research sheds light on why this happens, at least in terms of people’s thought processes, if not their underlying emotional drives.

The article points out, “Lies tend to stick in people’s minds, and can sway the outcome of elections, as well as public opinion in many arenas. So, what happens within our minds and emotions that make us receptive to lies, and then resistant to information that exposes the truth?”

Go to this link to find out, and even more so learn why “attempts to correct misinformation can backfire and actually increase the effect of the false belief.”

And what does a campaign tracker do?

The reality of a tracker’s day-to-day life is about meticulously documenting and archiving everything a candidate says on the campaign trail.

And what are they looking for?  It could be that catastrophic gaffe, “But more common is someone who attempts to change their positions depending on who they’re speaking to, or moderates their stances over the course of the campaign. There’s no better way to show voters that a candidate is being dishonest than to roll the video tape of the candidate in their own words.”

Marketplace goes along the campaign trail with a tracker who has covered more than 200 congressional and presidential events during the past 15 years. Learn more here about the tricks of the trade and how one tracker thinks politicians should regard the profession.

Manuel “Matty” Moroun owns the Ambassador Bridge “which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario and is the busiest commercial crossing in the United States.”

Ambassador handles more than 7,100 trucks a day at an average price of $15 per truck. The only privately-owned border crossing in the United States, it collects more than $60 million in tolls each year.

Now the Canadian government has proposed a new bridge two miles from his that would be funded by the government and paid off in tolls.

Naturally Moroun is fighting mad.

Moroun says the new bridge is unnecessary, is a waste of taxpayer money, and will be far more expensive than projected.  He said he could add to his own bridge far more cheaply. He has spent his millions on a massive ad and telephone campaign to back Proposal 6, which would require statewide votes on tunnels and bridges to Canada.

Critics of Moroun’s campaign say no taxpayer dollars will be involved in the new bridge, but that’s not stopping this battle royal by Mouran whose lobbying efforts have set a new spending record in Michigan.

CNBC has the whole story at this link.

24/7 Wall St. has taken a close look at 13 of the riskiest local governments that may be on the verge of bankruptcy as rated by Moody’s.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Moody’s Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer of U.S. Public Finaces Anne Van Praagh, explained that the number of cities, counties and towns that default on some or all of their debt is growing.

She attributes this to “a significant amount of credit pressure, sluggish economic recovery, and cities not being able to grow out of their problems this time around.”

She added that many cities see defaulting as the only way to avoid total economic disaster.

Go to this link to learn which cities are on the edge of default and what the outlook is for other cities to be downgraded in the future.