Oh, the Humanity!

I don’t want to make this California Day at PA, but do want to share a local experience to reinforce my earlier discussion in the post on the Mourdock disaster of the importance of Human Error in politics, even in this era of highly professional campaigns.

Today I received my first communication from a candidate for local office (I won’t embarrass him/her by disclosing the candidate or the office in question) via a mailer. I thought, “That’s interesting; I voted nearly two weeks ago.” A quick check of county registration figures supplemented by local demographics led me to a reasonably confident estimate that around two-thirds–maybe more–of voters in the jurisdiction in question vote by mail. Since California requires that mail ballots be received at the county seat by Election Day, it’s safe to assume a sizable majority have already been received or are currently in transit.

Upon further inspection, I noticed the tardy mailer had been sent by first-class mail, which presumably means the campaign didn’t get it together to obtain a permit for cheaper bulk mail. So in sum, this candidate overspent to send out his/her first direct voter communication at a time when probably half the ballots had already been cast. And the kicker is that the mailer contained information that might have led me to reconsider my vote for a rival candidate (whose mailer I received more than three weeks ago, or shortly after voting by mail began).

As a born procrastinator, I empathize entirely with this candidate. But then I’m not running for office.

I’m sure many readers have experienced amusing or illuminating foibles or masterstrokes in local campaigns in this or other campaign seasons. Please entertain us with them in the comment thread.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.