What just happened?

Based on the exit poll numbers and the supposedly record turnout, I fully expected that we’d know within a couple hours after polls closed that Kerry was the decisive winner. I was bewildered when Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin still weren’t called, so I went to bed.

I woke up off and on in the middle of the night, dreaming that I was browsing news web sites. At 5am I couldn’t stand it any longer and got out of bed for good, and now I’ve been deciphering what happened since last night.

The turnout was up, but even the current numbers seem low considering all the people who waited several hours in line to vote. And where was the young vote? I wasn’t the only one to predict they’d make the difference. Is the Republican get-out-the-vote effort just that much better?

Once again, the networks (specifically NBC and Fox) called states too soon. By giving Ohio to Bush, they were left in the sticky 269 situation, not daring to give any more states (like Nevada) to him lest they completely undermine the vote counting process. The networks promised more transparency in how they project a winner, but I didn’t see it.

Manton Reece @manton