As many are dealing with the ramifications of the Delaware Primary, one reader felt there were reasons for how some votes were cast. Without further ado, Eric Morrison from Newark has the floor:
Delaware Democrats are celebrating a record turnout in last Thursday’s primary election, but I don’t believe there’s as much reason to celebrate as many folks say. We need to think more deeply and critically about this.
Last Thursday, for about nine hours, I stood in the blazing sun, greeting voters at a polling station on a candidate’s behalf. Let me fill you in on some of my experiences that day, which I found alarming and downright frightening.
First, a number of voters said to me and other greeters: “I’m glad you’re out here today wearing your candidates’ T-shirts and stickers, because otherwise, I wouldn’t know who to vote for.”
Second, many voters said to me, “Oh, your candidate is a Democrat. I always vote Democrat. I’m going in there and voting only for the Democrats.” When I explained to these voters that they were there to pick which Democrat would be on the ballot in November, that they would be selecting only from Democrats today, they looked at me like I had three heads.
Third, for a number of voters, after I talked to them very briefly about my candidate, they said, “She’s got my vote!” Fortunately for those voters, both the candidate I was representing and I hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. But how did those voters know I wasn’t lying right to their faces? “My candidate single-handedly wiped out a mysterious disease affecting millions of children in poor nations around the world!”
One man, a registered Democrat, approached me on his way out of the polling station and declared, “I don’t know what happened in there! Only the Democrat side of the board lit up for me. It wouldn’t have let me vote for a Republican even if I had wanted to!”
During my interactions with voters last Thursday, these experiences were very common and far from anomalies. Furthermore, I only talked to many voters entering the polling station, but certainly not all of them. I’m sure many voters walking in had no idea for whom they were voting once they entered the booth, at least in some of the races, and I’m sure many of them were awestruck when they realized in the booth they were choosing between different Democrats, not voting for Democrats over Republicans.
How is it good for Delaware, the Democratic Party, or democracy in general, if many Democratic voters are literally pushing random buttons once they’re inside the voting booth? I suspect such voters go with name recognition when they can, and otherwise, they just pick randomly. I doubt that many voters admit to themselves that if they know nothing about the candidates in a certain race, they really shouldn’t push any button.
I strongly suspect that had many Democratic voters educated themselves about the candidates’ platforms and histories before voting last Thursday, results in many of the races would have been different—especially given that some races were so incredibly close, including at least two races decided by far less than a single percentage point.
For the record, I’m well aware that poorly-informed voters are nothing new in voting booths. But I suspect that last Thursday’s Democratic primarily elections saw not only a record turnout of Democrats, but a record turnout of poorly-informed Democratic voters.
Let’s face it. A huge number of Democratic voters came out last Thursday to vote against Trump and Republicans, not to vote for the best Democrats to appear on the November ballot. Trump and his cronies are awful, completely awful. But Trump did not invent everything evil in the world, nor in politics. I firmly believe that last Thursday, anti-Trump hysteria pushed a lot of voters into the booths who were ignorant about their purpose, the candidates, and the consequences of their selections.
For those reasons, I see much less reason to celebrate last Thursday’s record voter turnout than many fellow Delaware Democrats.
Editor’s Note: I have to imagine many Delaware Republicans are feeling the exact same way due to Scott Walker’s victory for U.S. Representative. I went to a few polling stations in Dover but they are a different crowd than up north. I did see quite a few people who did not know who the candidates were though which was concerning.