I was voter #450 at my polling precinct this evening. While polling officials said there’d been a steady stream of voters, I had little hope that I was going to help carry the Democratic vote; I have several neighbors that tell me or call me to let me know they’re cancelling out my vote.
The interesting thing about voting this year was the tableau when I entered: six folks sitting at little voting carrels, with their carboard walls, and two sitting at tables, all filling out paper ballots. The lone voting machine was standing, available. The ten folks in front of me all took paper ballots and trundled off.
My moment of truth: show my suspicion of anything invented in the 20th century, or go for the geek? I asked the poll officer who was in charge of the paper ballots: “so, how any folks have used the machine?”
He got squinty for a moment. “Well, not many, I can tell you that. You’re maybe the twentieth–“
“–Thirtieth–,” cut in his seatmate.
“–to use it today.”
I thought about all I knew about them, then decided to plunge into the uncertain future. “I’ll take the machine,” I said.
“Okey dokey,” he said, and got up, sticking what looked like a plastic chalkboard eraser into the side of the machine.
I admit it: I was a bit intimidated by the thing when I first saw the thing. But as soon as I saw that it was a touch screen the little ‘I hate knobs and levers’ knot in my stomach unclenched, and voting proceeded apace.
I was the 32nd person to use it that entire day. Do the Republicans know something about those machines that I don’t?