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Time to Vote!

Biggest turnout ever expected on Election Day

By Suzanne Freeman | November 3 , 2008
Voters stand in line to cast their ballots early at the Fulton County Annex in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Thursday, October 30, 2008. (Photo: ©John Bazemore/AP Images)
Voters stand in line to cast their ballots early at the Fulton County Annex in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Thursday, October 30, 2008. (Photo: ©John Bazemore/AP Images)

Two million people have already voted in Georgia. Another 3 million are expected at the polls on Tuesday. It's the biggest turnout ever for a presidential election, and voting officials across the nation are bracing for trouble. While voters in 31 states have been casting ballots for several weeks due to early-voting laws, others in states like New York are expecting long lines of people at the polls on Election Day.

"We are the best prepared we have ever been," Doug Lewis, executive director of the National Association of Election Officials, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "And yet at the same time, I can tell you that is like saying Galveston was prepared for the hurricane that was going to hit them."

Many state officials have issued advance warnings for voters to be prepared for long waits. Voters should be patient and nice, said one official.

"We want everyone to be kind to one another," Bonnie Williams, election director for New Hanover County in North Carolina, told the Star News.

Predictions of a large turnout around the nation are based on the high number of newly registered voters. Another predictor is the huge turnout in early-voting states like Georgia, where one third of registered voters have already cast a ballot. Georgia added more than a half million new voters to its rolls this year.

In battleground states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, lawyers for both the Democratic and Republican tickets are poised for battle. No one wants a repeat of the 2000 election, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court weeks after Election Day.

Because of these problems, the Obama campaign, CNN, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have set up hotlines for voters to call if they encounter problems. Both presidential campaigns have lined up attorneys who will fan out across the country to monitor the polls. The hotline number is 877.462.6608.

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps will follow election results all day Tuesday. Bulletins will be posted on the half hour beginning Tuesday afternoon. Kid Reporters will also be posting blog reports throughout the day. Follow it all online at www.scholastic.com/election2008 and www.scholastic.com/news.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Read today’s story and answer the following question.

blog it Every state's voter registration laws are different. Some states require a photo ID, while in other states it is illegal for a poll worker to ask for ID. Citizens of some states use computers to vote; those in other states vote on noncomputerized machines. Establishing a national standard for voting could be the answer, but it would be expensive and complicated.

What are your suggestions for guaranteeing that everyone in America who wants to vote can and assuring that everybody's vote is counted?

Tell us on the Scholastic News Online Blog!


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