Monday, October 23, 2006
I Voted, Probably
Used the touch screen system (we use Sequoia Systems here) for the first time, highly nervous at doing so, but actually seems to work and be fairly pleasant.
And IT HAS A PAPER TRAIL!
A note to voters: you don't have to vote for every office and every judge up for retention. Honestly. I usually hunt and pick my way thru the list trying to select the ones the Bar considers at least qualified. THIRTEEN SCREENS to get to the referendum items at the end!
So you go through the list, pressing on the screen to get the check mark in the nice big box (tho the "punch numbers" next to each candidate are maddeningly tiny), paging back and forth to make corrections, when done you get a summary screen (and can still make corrections if you want), then you hit the "print" button (and when it's done being printed -- like the receipt printer at the gas station -- you can STILL cancel and make corrections) then FINALLY you either have to abandon it or make your committment to Democratic Victory.
How it works is that your vote gets recorded on a little ATM-like card, then at some point it gets transmitted "downtown". The machine itself holds a disk record (laser disk, I think) and also a readable paper record that scrolls into the machine's locked storage box.
An alternative paper ballot that you write on wasn't available at the Evanston Civic center (might be available elsewhere, tho I don't know), but will be available on election day.
Assuming it all works, and that no one tries to hack the system, including the paper and disk backup trail, the biggest problem I can see is the likelihood of technology glitches all along the way -- machines that won't boot, or boot in a weirdly anomalous state or crash part of the way thru, cards that won't read or get rejected, paper runs out or gets jammed, or the type head runs out of ink, or an election judge has a spasm and goes crazy from all the radio frequencies strafing the airwaves, or the power goes out, or, or...
The clerk said they had 77 people the first early voting day, and a steady stream ever since. All the machines (4 or 5) were occupied when I arrived and 2 or 3 people were in line.
I hope everyone who has the time to do it votes early. It's a kindness to your neighbors, too. I know there's an excitement about going to the polls, seeing everyone, etc., but this is much, much better. You must have a picture ID with your address on it to do this, however. Since I now have longer hair and new glasses, they really scrutinized me. Perhaps I just looked shifty and nervous.
In Illinois YOU CAN STILL REGISTER TO VOTE (AND VOTE SAME DAY) FOR ONE MORE DAY AT YOUR COUNTY'S MAIN ELECTION OFFICE!!
This is the only act that distinguishes us from the animals any more. And just barely.
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