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Election notes

Nov 8, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Hubbub

We're doing separate news coverage on voter turnout, election-day voter registration, and early voting in Fremont County, but many who voted at the Fremont County Fairgrounds got the impression that turnout was very strong Tuesday, which is typical for our concerned committed electorate.

Many voters expressed astonishment at the hubbub at the fairgrounds -- beginning with the parking lot. During peak times, the confusion in the parking areas and at the intersections of nearby streets suggested that a bit of traffic control might be called for on a particularly big election day.

Also, the number of absentee and early ballots surely must have hit an all-time high. Unofficial totals put the early vote total at around 20 percent of the all ballots cast. Reporter Eric Blom is working on that story as well.

Red vs. Blue

A misconception about the last couple of presidential elections is that President Obama won the electoral vote by concentrating on "just a few big states," to quote a remark made Tuesday night on a national TV channel. Actually, if Florida is confirmed for Obama (he was leading there Thursday morning, but the state had not been awarded to him yet as its election official suffered through another embarrassing breakdown in its vote counting processes), he will have won 26 states to Romney's 24 states. If Florida tips to Romney, the state total will be 25-25.

If the election were based on land mass, then Romney would win. We haven't heard anyone proposing that electoral process yet.

Eight, eight, eight

The two-term presidency may seem commonplace nowadays, but it really isn't in historical terms. If Barack Obama completes his second term, it will be just the second time in the 230-year history of the American presidency that America will have had three consecutive eight-year presidencies. The only other time was when Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were elected, covering the elections from 1800 to 1824.That's a long time ago. By the time Obama leaves office, presumably in early 2017, nearly 200 years will have passed since such a presidential trifecta took place. It's been 38 years since a president didn't serve out his elected term. Richard Nixon resigned mid-term in 1974. It happened six times in the first 74 years of the 20th century, but not once since.

Already?

When thoughts of election fill your head for months at a time, it can be hard to purge the mind. Some people can't manage to do it at all -- hence the immediate talk Wednesday of who might run for president four years from now. Some said there were hints of early groundwork for defeated vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in presidential candidate Mitt Romney's concession speech late Tuesday night. With President Obama's term limited and Vice President Joseph Biden to be in his mid-70s by the time the next election comes, we're likely to see a free-for-all in both parties in 2016.

Poised in defeat

Presidential concession speeches rarely are the stuff of inspiration, but it's worth noting that Mitt Romney handled his with notable poise and grace on Tuesday.

"I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory," a composed Romney said late Tuesday night. "His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation ...

"I so wish -- I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he told his supporters, "but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

"Thank you, and God bless America."

There was more, but this was the gracious gist of it. Losing is difficult, but Romney showed everyone how to conduct oneself at a difficult moment.

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