The Note: Friends and Enablers

WASHINGTON, August 8

Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-CT) fate will be decided today as Connecticut Democrats take to the polls to choose their party's Senate nominee. Polls opened at 6:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET.

Voters are choosing between Lieberman, who is the fight of/for his political life, and political newcomer Ned Lamont, in a race that has largely been about Lieberman's support for the Iraq war, about that famous embrace of President Bush, about the battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, and about which political reporters can cram the most clichés into their copy.

There are no pooled network exit polls. The Connecticut Legislation and Elections website (LINK and LINK) will be updated continually, as soon as information comes in. The state is using a brand new system, which may or may not work. Should the system not work, officials are prepared with a spreadsheet and the site should be updated at roughly fifteen minute intervals with results.

Lever machines will dominate in today's primary, with a smattering of optical scan voting places. And here is a chart, courtesy of the excellent folks at the AP, detailing the timing of the reporting of results on election night in 2004 to use as a guide for tonight.

First Reports from Counties: 8:35 pm ET

20% of Precincts Statewide by: 10:00 pm ET

90% of Precincts Statewide by: 1:01 am ET (Wednesday)

100% of Precincts Statewide by: 9:44 am ET (Wednesday)

Given all the new voters who signed up, and the fact that this is a new August primary in the state, it is not clear at all what the early returns will mean and who will benefit from the vote that is still "out" at any given moment, so The Note recommends an afternoon nap.

If the race is super close, outstanding ballots, including from overseas, could lead to the kind of Florida/overtime situation with which at least one of the candidates is quite familiar.

If Lieberman pulls it out, get ready for the bloggers to explain why they still won. If Lieberman loses, get ready for a lot of national and Connecticut Democrats to argue (publicly and privately) that he shouldn't run as an independent -- and get ready for a Joe-ment of truth, as the incumbent decides if he wants to ignore those calls.

Channeling Lieberman adviser Dan Gerstein, Cynthia McKinney's campaign manager, John Evans, says it best in this morning's Los Angeles Times: "It's like when you have a room full of roaches: You go in, turn the light on and they scatter. When people think you're weak, they defect. Only the true at heart stick around."

Sen. Lieberman makes six campaign stops across the Nutmeg State today after he and his family vote at 9:30 am ET in New Haven, CT. The Lieberman primary night gathering spot is at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, CT.

Ned Lamont voted earlier this morning in Greenwich, CT. Lamont intends to go around and thank volunteers and campaign staffers at various campaign offices before making his way to this primary night locale -- the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden, CT.

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