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That moment of truth...

I have had -- and exercised -- my franchise for twenty years. I have voted in every election save one. Every Presidential year, off year, primary and referendum. Except that one. That makes twenty five or thirty times that I have stepped into the voting booth and pulled that big red handle. So few experiences can be distilled to a moment, but voting was one of them. After you had made your selections you pulled that handle again. The levers popped up, the curtain opened, and Ka-lannng you had voted.

Not so today. Today is the first day that Connecticut votes sate-wide with new paper ballots and optical scanners. Our polling place is new too -- we're no longer voting at the Company 2 fire house (can you get more democratic than voting in a volunteer fire house?) -- District 5 is now at the new elementary school. The polling place was well organized; they used the entire length of the gym to setup a good linear path from check-in table, to ballot pick-up, to the double row of "privacy booths" and on to the scanner and the exit. The ballot was well laid out, the magic marker had ink, and the scanner sucked my ballot right down. Somehow, though, zoooop is not as fulfilling as Ka-lannng. I walked out feeling ... shorted.

I concede that optical scanning is proven and very accurate. I concede that having a paper ballot to audit is even more secure than our beloved FDR-era level-arm machines. I will agree that our Secretary of State did a good job picking the new system -- the most conservative of all "electronic" voting methods, in good keeping with our Yankee heritage. But, something is missing. I'm sure that by the time our son-to-be is old enough to go to the "new" elementary school none of it will seem all that new any more. But for the moment I miss my big red handle and my moment of civic power.

###


Now that I'm done bitching, I have one other thing to say. My mom -- and everyone like her -- ROCKS. Thank you mom. Thank all of you.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
half_elf_lost
Nov. 7th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
I miss the big red handle and the bad fabric of the curtain and the clicks as my vote got counted and the machine reset.

This was so....quiet and anticlimactic.

Oh, and our new location/district sucked. But I still wouldn't miss voting.
netcurmudgeon
Nov. 7th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
This was so....quiet and anticlimactic.

Yes. That's it exactly.
brianrogers
Nov. 7th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
You're not alone. I missed the ka-chunk, but I've had time to get used to it because we've been using the optical scanners in Vernon for budget votes and the like for the last year or so.

I was frustrated by the Courant's article where te author somehoow felt her vote was less secure and protected than it was with the old lever machines. Obviously she had no idea about how those lovely hunks of pure nostalgia worked sans paper trail.
netcurmudgeon
Nov. 7th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
I was frustrated by the Courant's article where te author somehoow felt her vote was less secure and protected than it was with the old lever machines.

Yeah, I think we're all hearing from the 'change is bad' monkies. 'Just because it's been around since the year dot doesn't mean it can't be improved.'

Also, that could be a good illustration of how poorly the average person understands electronic voting and all of its permutations. Many of the touch-screen rigs are abysmally insecure. But op-scan? The first op-scan voting machines were made by *IBM* for crying out loud. And, I think it's fair to say that IBM != Diebold.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 7th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

I'll probably do it again, too.
kriz1818
Nov. 7th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Huh? How did I get logged off?

Well, that was me. 8-D
netcurmudgeon
Nov. 8th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
I'll probably do it again, too.

Cool! Where were you working?

kriz1818
Nov. 9th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
A school up the street in Manchester. I went over to my actual polling place to vote, too, so I could try the new machines. Very smooth, but a lot less tactile than the old-fashioned "ka-chunk!"
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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