Thursday, March 09, 2006

Voting with iPods

This morning I went and learned how to be an election judge and it was really. boring.

It's not really the Election Commission's fault; it was just another one of those things where the process is designed to be totally idiot-proof yet they spend two hours explaining the process anyway. It would have been tolerable had the woman next to me not been convinced she was my best friend by virtue of sitting next to me and had she not talked at me for the entire two hours despite me never, ever answering her or looking at her. Also, I was allergic to her hair product.

The new voting machines work like iPods, with a click-wheel and an enter button, which I don't think will help me explain it to older people who don't like voting via machine. Frankly, I don't either. Why can't we be like every other major democracy in the world and vote with pens on paper with checkboxes? WHY IS THAT SO HARD???

I got one of the machine guys to take the voting machine apart for me and show me how the paper ballot record works. I'm reasonably convinced that the machines play fair, but only because I have a basic trust in people. There's no reason the machines HAVE to play fair. There's no safeguard to MAKE them play fair. I still want paper and pen. It's less expensive and probably safer.

Perhaps most crucially, I would not have volunteered had they told me when I signed up that I had to be at the polling station at 5:30 a.m. THERE'S A FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING NOW???? WHY WASN'T I NOTIFIED????

But seriously, they'd get a lot more volunteers if they offered split shifts, say 5:30 to noon, and noon to 7 p.m. plus closing. I'm going to be there for fifteen friggin' hours, at least.

I was a much bigger fan of democracy yesterday, before I became an election judge.

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