Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rock The Vote

The gauntlet has been thrown down by N Joy, who, in a previous posting, left a request for my commentary on the new voting system.

Let me back up a bit. I am SO HAPPY that Primary Day is over here in New York. Why? Because now I will no longer come home to find my answering system choked with campaign messages supporting and endorsing criminals and urging me to come out and vote for them. I can now have dinner uninterrupted (until November) by pollsters and campaigners vying for a few moments of my time.

On to my review of the "new" system. Mind you that New York is (one of?) the last state(s) to comply with the mandate to overhaul the voting system. Years and years and *THIS* is the best they could come up with?!??!

Let's walk through it, shall we? First you enter the polling place and go to your regular (often toothless) election person (what are they called officially?). They invariably spell your name wrong. They then hand you a paper ballot (hooray for high technology!!!) and if you are really lucky, they even hand you the ballot for the party you are actually registered with (Who me? A Democrat?).

You are directed to a "privacy booth", which I must say is nicely outfitted with mini track lighting and one of those magnifier sheets (since the high tech {DID I MENTION PAPER?} ballots are printed in font size 8. There was also a cord, which I assume at one point held a pen, but by the time I voted around lunchtime, had already been disconnected and swiped (Joey informs me that he had to go through FOUR booths before finding one with an intact writing implement. The economy is rough, what can I say?).

All this privacy is for naught though, because I then joined the line of people waiting for the ONE AND ONLY functioning Scantron machine in the whole place. The plodding fellow who was selected for the plum assignment of manning this area, eyeballed my ballot carefully before directing me to insert it in the machine. (I was the lucky one - I heard from others that he plucked their ballots straight out of their hands and after perusing it (slowly) he inserted it himself). The machine then informs you that your vote has been counted (I sure hope the machine got it right, since it didn't bother to verify my selections). When I voted, the machine also gave me an error message about some jam, but Mr. SlowVote assured me that it was nothing to worry about - "Everybody gets that message because there's some jam inside. Until somebody can get inside and fix it, it's gonna keep saying that".

It seems that my polling place was better than most though.
Who won? Who cares?

All in all - 50 MILLION of my tax dollars - well spent {sigh}

Oh, did I see the guy campaigning illegally? questionably close to the polling place handing out complimentary pens?!?! Nah... couldn't be...


ProfK said...

Agree with you that if this represents progress, and a whole lot of money to bring us this progress,then someone needs to look up the definition in a dictionary. All the technological advances of the past few decades and we're back to paper ballots?!

frumskeptic said...

profk- the paper ballot thing is the biggest pain in the neck!

my favorite is the manilla folder they give you for the privacy!

mlevin said...

they didn't even bother with manila folders when I went to vote, but I did see them laying everywhere, except for the voters' hands.

N Joy said...

Well done G6. As I waited on line I heard one lady say 'wow this is primative'... I second that.

Rivki said...

Ugh! The whole system leaves me very, very apathetic. Thankfully, this year we voted absentee, so I didn't have to shlep anywhere. B"H!

Scraps said...

I voted there, too. There were definitely some people who seemed rather too close to the voting station. And the toothless ladies, too. They had a really hard time detaching my ballot from the paper block, too - apparently, if you don't have a completely clean rip from the block of ballots, the machine won't take it or something. They ended up voiding a ballot or two before they could get one for me that would "probably work". (I think it did.)

I seriously want to go back to the levers. They were so, so much easier.

YW said...

I just voted, I was number 29.