Tuesday, November 07, 2006

fun at the polls

I voted on my way to the gym this morning at 7:15 AM. The polls had been open for an hour, and that's as long as it took for the voting machine for my precinct to break down. This is what happens when your machines date back to the Eisenhower administration. When the poll workers couldn't figure out why the main lever was stuck, they started handing out paper ballots. "Now our votes only count if it's close," I said to another woman waiting in line with me. I sat down at the table, with no privacy curtain or cardboard box to hide my choices, and filled out the ballot in pen. The poll worker in charge of the precinct told us to write our names on the ballots. Uh, no, I don't think so. I told her it's supposed to be a secret ballot, so I didn't write my name on mine. I just folded it up and gave it back to her. The way I figure it, I'd already signed the voter roll, so that proves that I voted. Had I voted by machine, it doesn't record my name, so why would I put my name on the paper ballot? But I'm sure that they don't count paper ballots unless the election is close, and in New York none of the major races are going to be close. So I showed up to vote, but I'll just have to accept on faith that my vote counted for something.

This is supposed to be the last election for the old voting machines in New York. Next year we're supposed to get new electronic voting machines. I can just imagine the lines at the polls next year, with the poll workers being just as clueless as the voters as to how the machines work. I think I'll vote absentee ballot next time.

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