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– by Whitney Quesenbery 

This Election Day, I was in a new polling place in a largely rural township in Central New Jersey. Elections out here are usually sedate affairs, with friends and neighbors chatting, and the same poll workers year after year. Almost boring. Except when a local election heats up. This year, the election hotspot was the 2 seats on the Township Committee. 

Here’s the background. The township is the center of a long-running dispute over a general aviation airport which might – or might not – want to expand. It’s probably cost both sides millions in land studies, lawyers, and campaign sign. The election should have been easy: there were only 2 candidates on the ballot from one party. None from the other. No nominations by petition. But there was the usual write-in option.  And the losers in the June primary were running a write-in campaign.

Here’s the other twist. We still vote on old full-face electronic voting systems. So “write-in” really means “type-in” on a clunky, modal interface. That makes a write-in campaign doubly daunting.

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  • Vol. 05-08, the “voter ed” series, in Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent now available!

    Based on research supported by the MacArthur Foundation during the 2012 Presidential Election, the team has put together top 10 tips and guidelines on communication strategy, printed voter education, election websites, and signage and way finding. Download the PDFs for free , or get your own printed copies .

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    May 14, 2013 – Vol. 01 – 04 of the Field Guides To Ensuring Voter Intent went to press today for their 3rd printing. Right now 1,000 sets of the Field Guides are out in the world. The new batch will put 250 more sets in the hands of local election officials. Yay!