The scene outside precinct 16—at 15th and R Streets NW—just before noon today:
*Rep for Jack Evans? Check.
*Rep for Patrick Mara? Check.
*Rep for Michael A. Brown? Check.
*Rep for Kwame Brown? Check.
*Rep for Carol Schwartz? Nowhere in sight.
And that’s a huge problem for a candidate who’s running a write-in campaign. Think of the scenario: The average voter (AV) heads to the voting precinct and gets greeted by all kinds of reps. The AV may spy a sign advertising Carol’s write-in campaign. But no one’s shouting in the ear of the AV, saying, Hey, write in Carol on the ballot. Make good use of that pencil! So then the AV heads into the polling place, takes the ballot and starts connecting arrows all over the place. Since the AV is not necessarily a sophisticated voter (SV), he or she may not even know beforehand that you can cast two votes in the at-large race, in which Schwartz is competing against a large field.
So what’s the chance that the AV is going to actually write Carol in? Not high. Perhaps the SV is a better bet for the Schwartz campaign, but not the AV.
Some reports are starting to filter in from our field correspondents, and it seems that the absence of Carol reps at voting sites may be a wider problem. One reporter says that two other high-turnout precincts in Northwest had no flesh-and-blood Carol presence. More to come.