It’s Election Day: If Nobody Votes, ‘Nobody’ Wins

NobodyNow I know you’re probably already squawking — I can hear it from here — about this “Nobody” business in this headline. “NOBODY? Record turnout, lady, in early voting — how is that NOBODY votes?”

But hear me out.

If nobody votes, then Nobody will win. And that’s not just brain-breaking hyperbole that the grammarian in me is grappling with. Cartographers Philip Kearney and Jim Herries used Census data to plot nonvoters, and made a really not-ground-breaking-at-all discovery: Nobody (if Nobody was a candidate) would’ve beaten the pants off Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the last election.

In fact, Nobody would’ve won 445 electoral votes to Trump’s 21 and Clinton’s 72.

To make the editor in me happy, though, can we just say that when people don’t vote, Nobody the Candidate wins?

Now yes, early voting turnout statewide has been incredible. And seriously, even though the lines were long occasionally, voting early is quite possibly the easiest way we currently have available to vote — you can go anywhere in the county, line up, cast your ballot, and walk back out, possibly with a cool new sticker.

In the 30 counties in Texas that contain the bulk of the state’s registered voters, turnout for early voting exceeded the election turnout for the entire 2014 midterm election, data compiled by the Texas Tribune showed.

In Dallas County, there are 1,335,313 registered voters this election, and 529,521 cast their votes early, or 39 percent, compared to 214,312 in 2014. In Tarrant County, 465,817 of the county’s 1,122,597 registered voters (or 41.5 percent) voted early. In Collin County, almost half (49.4 percent) of the county’s 579,893 registered voters voted early. Forty-six percent of Denton County’s 497,490 voters have already cast ballots.

Some interesting statistics are emerging, too. For instance, Robert Mundinger over at TheMap.io took a look at who was voting early — and where.

“In the more Republican, northern side of Dallas (that historically shows up to vote more) about 5,000 less people voted than in 2016. In southern Dallas County, about 6,000 more people voted,” he noted regarding the first day of early voting.

At the Dallas Morning News, they took a look at the conventional wisdom that weather impacts voter turnout.
“A study published in The Journal of Politics in 2007 found that ‘rain significantly reduces voter participation’ by about 1 percent per inch and that an inch of snow could decrease turnout by about 0.5 percent,” staff writer Jesus Jimenez wrote. “Republicans tend to benefit from poor weather because it deters Democrats, the study found.”

But that can’t be an excuse for not voting today, because the forecast is for bright and sunny weather.

Don’t know where to vote, or if you’re registered to vote (c’mon, son — really?)? Click here to find out everything.
Don’t know who or what is on the ballot? Go find your well-read, well-studied friends (you’ll know them because they will have posted a picture of them with a sticker on their Instagram) and ask them for their opinions. Go read up on the candidate’s own words here.

Think you can’t vote because you have to work? Texas law requires paid time off to vote for as long as it reasonably takes a person to vote, unless the person has two hours available before or after work to vote.

Also, you have from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to vote today. Unlike early voting, on Election Day you will need to go to a specific polling place, but once you’re in line at the correct polling place, you must be allowed to vote as long as you’re a registered voter — even if the line is long and can’t be completed by 7 p.m. As long as you’re in line before 7 p.m., you can vote.

So, if you were in Nobody 2016, and are contemplating being Nobody 2017, I’ll leave you with some sage words from a really good writer who had a little wine one night and responded to an email.

“What does this early voting turnout mean? Something. Nothing. Everything. It means people are voting — and that’s about it. Yes, conventional wisdom says the better the turnout, the better it is for Democrats, but after polls were not the tea leaves we thought they were in 2016, I would refuse to count any ellipsoidal objects before they’re done incubating. Every vote will count, no matter where in the spectrum you fall politically.”

Every vote will count — even Nobody’s. Especially Nobody’s. Also, I’m apparently quite eloquent when fed wine.

We’ll be back around 7 p.m. to begin our Election Day coverage. In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you’re spending your Election Day.

Bethany Erickson is the education and public policy writer for CandysDirt.com. She is also the Director of Audience Engagement for Candy’s Media Group. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, and the Society of Professional Journalists, and is the 2018 NAREE Gold winner for best series. Contact her at bethany@candysdirt.com.