Minutiae / Politics · November 7, 2006

Nothing ‘Funny’ happens in an uncontested State – I wonder why that is?

I voted. The ballot was pretty much as I indicated in my earlier post. Voting was such a non-hassle for me. I showed up, gave ‘em my address, was handed a ballot and pointed to one of the many empty booths. The gentleman in front of me was in the wrong polling place, and the helpful attendant figured out his correct polling location and sent him to it. (Not far away either.)

The ballot was simple and clearly organized. Each position and issue was explained, and the candidates were listed alphabetically with a color-in-the-circle indicator next to each one. I pulled out my cheat sheet and went down the list. Just like High School.

When I was done, I tore my receipt off the ballot and slipped the ballot into the automatic reader. There were two readers at the polling place.

What I don’t know is, did the reader correctly read my ballot? Will my ballot, along with everyone else’s, be kept and used to audit the readers in some fashion?

What I would like to see is the reader print out a ticket, the size of a cash register receipt that indicated exactly who I voted for. I’d be able to match my ticket to my cheat sheet and know that I voted correctly. The ticket should have a unique ID number on it, and some indication of the machine used; the polling location and anything else that would be helpful against voter fraud.

Here is what didn’t happen.

There were no signs around the polling location to persuade my vote in one way or another. There were no protestors at the polling location, or near it, or anywhere I could see on my route to and from it. There was no problem in finding my name in the list of registered voters. There was no line – from the moment I walked in the door to the moment I got to the voting booth was less than 2 minutes. The polling location was not closed during lunchtime. I wasn’t called, or emailed or snail mailed anything that told me to go to a different polling location.

Voting was a complete non-event.

And why shouldn’t it be? It should be this easy everywhere throughout the USA. The technology exists to read votes quickly (although as I’ve said, I’d be more comfortable if said technology would generate proof that my vote was read accurately as well.)

Voting machines shouldn’t be completely computerized because they crash too easily, they don’t leave a paper trail, they can’t be accurately audited, and they can be hacked.

Intentionally misdirecting people, intimidating them, or misrepresenting an opponent is unethical, and must result in drastic punishment. My opinion is that any effort to illegally disenfranchise a voter, any effort to make it difficult to report voter fraud, should result in hard jail time for the perpetrator, whether the person behind the deed is jamming phone lines, or hacking the machines.

Early predictions seem to be that Dems will pick up seats in the Senate, but won’t gain control. Democrats will gain control of the House, by a pretty good margin. If neither happens, I’ll cry “voter fraud” and wonder what to do about it. The Democratic Party has been weak long enough – it’s time to make a stand.