Election Day

Today was election day.  I did my civic duty by looking up whatever information I could find on the internet about the candidates then going to vote.  What I could find was limited.  It was pretty easy to get information for two of the senate candidates.  One is currently the Commonwealth’s secretary of state.  The other is the son of Ron Paul, who ran for president two years ago.  All I could read about the others is that they are Christians and believe the country needs to turn back to God.  I never could find anything about the candidates running for the other position on the ballot aside from a blurb in the newspaper saying that they had filed to run.  With that in mind, I voted for the one I had met a couple years ago.  I don’t remember disliking him for any particular reason.

The voting itself is what I am intending to talk about though.  Before today, I had only voted on two different voting machines in my life – as well as filling as absentee ballots.  Both were electronic with lights beside the person you had said you wanted to vote for, and both machines allowed you to go back and change your vote if you realized you marked the wrong person – or just changed your mind because you remembered something about one of them.  Today, I expected to use one of those machines.  (The precinct still had one of the ones from a decade ago in case one of the others malfunctions.)

Instead when I walked in and signed my name on the registry, I was handed a paper ballot.  I was instructed to go behind a screen and fill in the bubbles with a black pen.  At this point, I started thinking that this: A) seems like a step back in preventing vote counting errors and B) feels like high school all over again.  As much as I like so many people from high school, I don’t want to be back in it – as a student at least.  I finished filling in my bubbles quickly because I had only two to fill in and took the sheet to a little black box.

I’m sure this box is a scanner.  It made scanner-like sounds when I put my ballot in it and after it went all the way through, a little flag popped up on a screen and said “Thank you for voting.”  While I’m sure it was a scanner, it looked much more like a paper shredder.  I’m hoping my vote actually gets counted instead of composted.

While voting, I also thought back to my days of filling out those forms in school.  I remember being told to fill it in completely with a No. 2 pencil.  The reason, I was told, is because the scanners can’t pick up on ink or crayon or wite-out pen.  I also remember being told that if I went outside the lines, the machine could register it as filling in a different bubble or two bubbles.  I even remember finding out that was true and having to get a grade changed a time or two.  Has Scantron technology really improved so much that we want to use it for voting?  I have my doubts.  In fact, I think I might actually prefer the ballots to be hand-counted.  Oh, well.  I did my civic duty today and can sleep well tonight.

Explore posts in the same categories: Local, Observations

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