NPR logo The Countdown: Day 17: Will They Vote?

From Farai

The Countdown: Day 17: Will They Vote?

So, many people have moved on from watching the polls to watching the people.

On our show yesterday, political scientist Mark Sawyer (talking about overseas voting here; and about displaced domestic voters here) pointed out that American elections can be decided within the margin of error. That is, there is always room for error in ... well, just about everything. The margin of error is a guesstimate of how close you can get and still get something right. Polls have margins of error listed on the bottom, based on how many people they sample and in which way. And so do election counts. (Just think of Bush v. Gore 2000, and all those dimpled and hanging chads, and the recount, and the storming of the recount office....)

Anyway, Sawyer's point was that EVERY vote counts ... you never know if you'll be casting a decisive ballot.

Both campaigns are swinging into high gear to get registered voters to the polls. In some ways, the Obama campaign has more to lose, because although he has registered more new voters, those new voters are harder to track and possibly more unpredictable in their behavior.

As part of our voting series, we'll discuss more about how you get out the vote, and how the parties and other groups are doing it in Election 2008.