Talk Back: Tell Us Your Election Stories

Ever notice anything strange around town when elections are coming up?

Our latest podcast, “Wildfires, Cops, and Keggers,” looks into the odd by-products of electoral politics — that is, not just which politicians get elected, but what kind of below-the-radar shenanigans happen before (and sometimes after) an election, usually inspired by how an incumbent’s incentives are lined up. Maybe property taxes dropped in the run-up to an election, only to spike once an incumbent had won another term. Maybe more cops and firemen were hired during campaign season.

Given that many of these election-cycle fluctuations occur in less-scrutizined local elections, we want to hear from you any interesting examples you’ve witnessed. Tell us your election stories in the comments below! 

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Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

 

COMMENTS: 21


  1. Mike says:

    The last election I voted at, there was a kid sitting on the shoulders of his dad that farted in my face. But I don’t think that’s the kind of election story you’re asking for.

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    • Ry Jones says:

      My dad ran for office frequently when I was a kid; every time he ran, one of the streets by our house would suddenly make it to the top of the list for resurfacing.

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  2. Jason says:

    If I remember correctly, every teacher in the state of Texas got a $3000 raise in 1999 (as George W. Bush was gearing up to run as the “Education Candidate”).

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  3. Richie says:

    Interesting, our little town of Elmont, NY is in a heated battle for the town legislature as such many interesting things have occurred. If you look at our local internet papers/blogs the chaos will be apparent; Elmont.org and http://www.liherald.com/elmont/elmont/stories/Video-Ciotti-campaign-volunteers-force-signs-onto-private-property-make-racist-remarks,36313?page=1&content_source=

    I would love to see how you could tease out the effects of a foolish act during a campaign. I would love to see how this incident convinced people to switch their votes and even more importantly, how it excited people to vote. Please note Elmont is perhaps the most diverse hamlet on Long Island consisting of various races, religions, and cultures. Since Elmont is located outside of NYC then it is the perfect petri dish of Urban v. Suburb mentalities. This race is exciting because it is developing into a real soap opera. The only problem is I would love to see the triggers. You know it is crazy when you have Black Jewish Republicans battling White Muslim Democrats. Meanwhile, you have the Asian and the Latino population in the middle. It is crazy, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Jews in a potpourri of a modern culture. This is a micro-economics dream.

    Plus, they plan on building a major Casino in the area (Belmont Racetrack)…and no one knows exactly how will it effect the area? Will it be prosperous or will it lead to Sodom and Gomorrah. Please help the saga continues?

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  4. George says:

    Absentee ballots are pre-marked for the incumbent.
    Was it a set-up (knowing that the story would get out and people may assume the incumbent did it)? Will we ever know?

    http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/erie-county/article615613.ece

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  5. Chris says:

    Minnesota is a caucus state.

    In 2004 I attended the neighborhood GOP caucus to introduce a resolution or maybe to make a point. [Think of what was going on legislatively and in the executive branch at the time.]

    My resolution: The GOP unequivocally supports the Bill of Rights and those who defend the Bill of Rights.

    There was a bit of aimless discussion that ended when someone in the room shouted, “The ACLU is a bunch of commies!” Silence followed for an uncomfortable few seconds, and the vote was called.

    A brave stranger and I voted for the resolution. Everyone else focused their attention on their shoes and abstained.

    [By going to the GOP caucus, I found myself on the organization's calling list and couldn't stop the pestering phone calls that went on for several years. Eventually I lost my patience and said to a phone bank woman, "I'd put needles in my eyes before I'd vote for anyone in your party." No more phone calls.]

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    • EP says:

      Well that sounds constructive. I’m glad democracy is alive and well in my home state.
      Speaking of which…
      In 2004, 2005, and 2006 I had to vote absentee from college. I asked my mother to look at my name on the voter roll when she checked in to see if my ballot had been counted. All three years, it was in the trash, unopened. When asked why it was there the judges said it was invalid, when asked why, they had no reason at all, and then counted it. I’ll merely note that the popular party in my town was well aware that I tended to not vote for it.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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    • EP says:

      Well that sounds constructive. I’m glad to know my home state is temperate and prudential in their democracy.
      In 2004, 2005, and 2006 I voted absentee from college. I had my mother look at my name on the voter rolls when she voted to see if I had been marked absentee. All three years I had not and my ballot was in the trash, unopened. When asked why, the judges said it was invalid. When pressed for a reason, they had none at all, then counted it.
      I will merely note that the popular party in my town knew I tended to not vote for it.

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  6. EP says:

    In 2004, 2005, and 2006 I voted absentee from college. I had my mother look at my name on the voter rolls when she voted to see if I had been marked absentee. All three years I had not and my ballot was in the trash, unopened. When asked why, the judges said it was invalid. When pressed for a reason, they had none at all, then counted it.
    I will merely note that the popular party in my town knew I tended to not vote for it.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    In a US territory, before a recent election, the incumbent emphasized that there had been no government job cuts during his term. Once re-elected, guess what happened next?

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  8. Caleb b says:

    I’ll say it. Remember when those black panthers were intimidating voters in Phillidelphia, caught and identified on YouTube? Remember how the case was dropped by the justice department for no reason?

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  9. James says:

    Australian politicians rush for their “budgie smugglers” at every election – nothing like photos or tv footage of a 50 yo man in lycra demonstrating their virility to put you off breakfast.

    Check out this newspaper article…http://bit.ly/rAMLgf – like an Australian Vladimir Putin.

    I can find no economic rationale for this, and it has a pretty poor track record.

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  10. garcia.larry@gmail.com says:

    Miami is getting crushed from lower property taxes the housing crisis. Property taxes are the main source of funding for the city. Well we had an election yesterday, but of course this article came up 3 days before that.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/28/2477154/more-police-on-the-way.html

    50 more cops being hired after a long hiring freeze.

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  11. AJ says:

    Every election day I sell my vote. I honestly don’t think my single vote will change much of anything and I can’t be bothered to take time out of my day to stand in line and cast my meaningless vote unless I get something out of it. I have a lot of friends who take voting *very* seriously and are willing to pay me to cast my vote in their favor (usually 10-20 dollars). Oddly enough, I’m usually able to sell my same vote to several people – I just have to find people who all want me to vote for the same things. I usually make about a hundred bucks every election day. THAT is worth voting for.

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  12. Mike says:

    During the 5th grade election for Class President, there were two girls and two boys running in a class of about 25 students.

    As campaign manager of one of the boys, I convinced the other boy running to drop out so we could have a male Class President. (In the 5th grade, there is no cross-gender voting)

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  13. Gary says:

    My best story is when a couple dozen citizens united to defeated a referendum that would allow a casino to be built in our small rural town. Nine weeks to build a coalition and reverse the 60% favorable polling numbers. Strategy sessions, fund-raisers, public forums, creating our own commercials for local cable, going on talk-radio, mailings, dealing with harassment, lobbying the local politicians. We won handily despite being outspent 20 to 1 by the promoters. American democracy and group wisdom at work.

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  14. Dom says:

    In the NJ gubernaorial election in 2009 there was an independent candidate for governor that was doing well in the polls leading up to Election Day, drawing enough interest to create uncertainty about which of the two major-party candidates would win the election. However, on Election Day, this candidate wound up with only 5% of the vote. He blamed the poor showing on the fact that his name was placed at the bottom of the ballot. Indeed, I had a hard time finding his name when I received my sample ballot before the election.

    I have been wondering ever since if there was any truth to his claim. Research Hypothesis: Ballot placement is important for a serious independent or third-party candidate to influence the outcome of an election (i.e., for him or her to do well or mess things up for one of the major-party candidates). Are there any studies along these lines?

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  15. Dom says:

    In the 2009 NJ gubernatorial election there was a independent candidate for governor that was doing quite well in the polls leading up to Election Day and creating uncertainty as to which of the two major-party candidate would ultimately win in the end. However, this candidate wond up with only 5% of the votes. After the election, he blamed his poor showing on the fact that his name was placed at the bottom of the ballot and voters had a difficult time finding his name. Indeed, it took me some time to locate his name on the sample ballot received before the election.

    Ever since I have been wondering if there was any truth to his claim. Research Hypothesis: Ballot placement is important for a serious independent candidate to influence an election (i.e., doing well in an election or taking enough votes from one or the other of the major-party candidates to change the outcome of the election). Are there any studies that are along these lines?

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  16. Allen Hughes says:

    How does a tw term governor with great credentials get left off polls and out of debates? Is he not the right kind of conservative? Wrong level iof his religious fervor

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  17. Allen Hughes says:

    Gary Johnson is his name. New Mexico is his state. Time for all conservatives to stand up for what is right

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  18. Kelly O says:

    I’m sure this phenomenon is not limited to my area, but I always see a noticeable drop in gas prices prior to any major election. While it could be coincidence, the lower prices seem to last only as long as it takes to tally the votes. In fact, gas prices have already risen by $.20+ since our election this month in my state.

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