The Times wonders why it is losing its readers. Maybe because some of its reporters are all but oblivious to the real dynamics influencing local politics. Will Van Sant wrote this atrocious piece, in which he reports what anyone who has voted in a local election has known for ten years: “More voters than ever are using mail ballots, forcing candidates in the upcoming March municipal elections to confront a new political dynamic. Candidates are adjusting by contacting voters earlier, which has strained campaign coffers. Other candidates have been caught short, with ballots in voters’ hands before serious outreach efforts have begun.”Van Sant also quotes Jack Latvala in his article, which tells you how hard the reporter actually worked to cover this story:
Reporter: “Hello, Mr. Latvala?”
Latvala: “Arrrgggghhhh.” (Followed by more bear noises
Reporter: “Um, thank you for your time.
I suggest Will read this op-ed I wrote for the Tallahassee Democrat FOUR YEARS AGO, in which I said: “Absentee voting is dramatically changing the nature of elections — and not necessarily for the better. Campaigns must begin earlier and spend more time and money to “track” absentee ballot requesters. As an example, each county’s election supervisor typically produces for campaign managers a daily list of the voters who request an absentee ballot. The names on these lists are quickly input into databases, so that each receives a first-class mailing, a candidate visit or telephone calls. Obviously, this is an expensive operation. In fact, in the campaigns I’ve worked for, the tracking program described here is often the second-highest expense behind television airtime. When it comes down to it, identifying absentee voting by that name is a sham.
Sound familiar Will?