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The Trickle - Election Day edition
November 4, 2008 - Brian Ferry
Voting – a piece of cake
I can't put a video of my voting experience on YouTube (I wasn't planning on it anyway), so I'll blog it. I voted today. Civic duty and all that. I like to think that even if all the candidates on the ballot were total shoe-ins (a la Kathy Rapp this year), I'd go to the polls and pull that lever. (The touchscreen thing takes away some of the archaic poetry of the event. However, I'll trade that for the elimination of hanging chads every time.) Beyond feeling that I've accomplished a key portion of my rights and responsibilities as a citizen, my voting experience was a very pleasant one. There was a record turnout in my precinct on Tuesday. I had to wait longer than usual. That was all right... the weather was fine (the line extended outside the building much of the day), the line kept moving, the people (my fellow voters and the overworked poll workers) were polite and pleasant, and the machines were easy to handle. It felt good.
I consider myself pretty savvy with 1990s era technology. But, every once in a while... So, there I was, at the voting machine. I had a pre-programmed card in my hand. I looked at the picture to make sure I inserted the card properly. I pushed firmly, heard the click, and waited for the voting screen to come up. Instead, after a short delay the card popped back out and I got an error message. I had put the card in upside-down or botched the job some other way, the machine told me. I looked at the card. The little gold square was right where it should have been when I compared the card to the pictorial instruction. I tried again. Same result. After three more failures, each starting with the expectation that it would somehow magically work that time, I got the attention of one of the poll workers. He was, despite working through a record turnout, still friendly. He started over. I pushed the card in one more time, this time with the expectation that the error message would be up by the time he arrived. Of course, the machine informed me it was good to go. Either he was still in a very generous mood, or he really had received several complaints about a card working inconsistently. Still, despite my card trials, I voted and double-checked in good time.
I double-checked my ballot. Why, you ask? The machine is so simple to operate. Go down the columns on the screen putting at least one X in a box in each category. Piece of cake. The first time I used touch-screen voting, I chimed in on all the races. I even put more than one vote in for one race (I forget what office I was allowed to do multiple choice on). However, when I got to the final screen, I saw a red box. I had left something out. Big deal, probably just telling me I didn't vote straight party. Nope. I'd skipped a race. Now, I double-check. It doesn't take long.
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