Early Voting

So, they’re doing early voting at the town hall in my little village of doom. So, after dropping the boy at school (picture day!) and before braving the market, I wandered into city hall and voted.

Saga of paperless voting

I’m quite unhappy about the experience, to be honest. I mean, the usual workers were there…I know most of the poll workers in this area by now…and they were just as sweet and nice as only little old southern ladies and gentlemen could be. But, one of the reasons I did early voting was that I assumed, incorrectly it would seem, that I would get a paper ballot that way, rather than using the Black Boxes.

No such luck. They scanned my voter card, and printed out a form that I had to sign that had all my info on it. (The application for early voting.) Then, they walked me over to the voting table, plugged a cartridge into it, activated it, explained the basics and then stepped away.

I looked at it, looked at the poll worker and said, “Um, where’s the validation? How do I know that my vote has been registered? Where’s the paper trail on this?” I forgot, for a moment, that my voice carries quite clearly…and I attracted the attention of other voters getting ready to vote, who all chimed in with “Hey! Yeah! How are we supposed to do recounts if there’s no paper trail?”

So, I asked for a paper ballot. The other voters asked for a paper ballot. There I was, before my second cup of coffee, leading senior citizens into a voting revolt. Yay me. ;) We were very polite, but quite insistant. Eventually the mayor, the city attorney, and the police chief made an appearance, and said that while they understood our concern, they were completely powerless to do anything about it. So, because our voter IDs had already been marked as voting, we had no choice but to vote then…and thus we did. Grumbling mind you, but voted anyway. Not that I expect the votes to matter now. I don’t even assume they’ll be counted. My gut instinct tells me that this election is *so* rigged.

What surprises me, after discussions with a some friends who all live in different surrounding areas and have early voted, is that most of the areas that lean Democrat all have touch screens…whereas areas that lean Republican have paper ballots. But where I live hasn’t been a Democrat stronghold for 5 years now…ever since the invasion of the Suburbanites…who are almost all Republicans. So, (tin foil hat on) you’d think that as a Republican stronghold that we wouldn’t have had the “oops we lost the records” touch screens. Especially since a few phone calls have revealed that the voting on November 2 will be on paper ballots.

Another surprising thing, while chatting with the lady who runs the polling place, I got her to give me the numbers for early voting thus far. It started on Monday, I was there around 9am today, and the early voter turnout was already greater than the total number of people in my area that voted in the primaries. Now, granted the primaries were an insane waste of time, as the princes had already been crowned…but there had been a lot of important local issues on the same ballot. (Such as allowing beer and wine sales in the city…which passed…still can’t buy liquor here, but you can finally buy a 6 pack.) And the whole time I was there, trying to convince them to give me a paper ballot, there was a constant stream of people coming in to vote.

If I may put my tin foil hat back on for a moment…studies have shown that early voters tend to vote Democrat. Only the early voters in my district are being forced to use a voting system that has no paper trail, no audit abilities, and no guarantee that the data is safe. Just one of those things that make you go hmmmm. I think I’m going to try and roust some of my Republican trophy wife neighbors that have Bush signs in their yards to go vote early. At least if my vote gets discarded,so too will theirs. ;)

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