Voted today

Stopped in on my way to work this morning to do my patriotic duty by voting.  Since we moved last fall after the election, I had to find the new polling place.  Wasn’t that hard, but I find it odd that I always end up having to vote in some of the strangest places.  In our old neighborhood it was the ‘community center’ of a trailer park (read: a trailer that everyone could use for parties…and voting).  In our new house our designated polling place is the welfare house outside of the Grant County fair grounds.  I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the government program of welfare, but in a overly democratic county I find it a little biased that the place you vote is named for the program that most people are voting to keep in place.
Anyway, I found the welfare house quite easily and went in to vote.  Since I was taking my daughter in to school she came along with me.  There were four precincts voting in the same place so I had to ask which one I was in (Precinct 10 in case anyone is interested).  I showed them my license, signed the book and was asked if I wanted to “try one of the new voting machines”.  I got the sense that they were asking everyone under 40 if they wanted to use the new ones and everyone over 40 they were directing to the old machines.
I said I would and they handed me a little paper receipt (like you get from a gas station pump) with a 4 digit pin code in it.  I took my daughter with me in the voting booth and entered the code.  The operation of the machine was a little counterintuitive in the way you made selections.  It would have seemed fairly obvious to have a touch screen device, but instead there was a scroll wheel that walked you through the selection process and then a selection key to lock it in (it was kind of like a blackberry).  Once I had that figured out, I made my votes and at the end was presented with a summary of the selections before I was asked to hit the “vote” button.
Two thoughts on the machine itslef:
1 – I think touchscreen would be much easier for a lot of people to use.  It just comes closer to the way people are used to using the old machines.
2 – I really don’t see why it would be hard to include a small thermal printer on the machine itself (like was in the registration machine) to give me a receipt for the votes I cast.  It certainly would make me feel a lot more secure that the selections I made could at least be audited.  You could add a security code or even a bar code to each receipt to prevent fraud should a recount of the receipts ever be neccesary.
And one observastion of the election itself (for all my readers in Grant County…hello Tim):
1 – I think I should definitely run for office next year in the county.  About 2/3rds of the county positions where being run for by Democrats with no opposition.  Even if I didn’t win, I think it would be an interesting experience.  Anyone out there ever run for office “just for fun”?






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