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November 5th, 2002

What type of ballot?

Since I know that all of you Pingers have gone out and done your civic duty (or will soon) by researching the issues and voting, I’m curious as to the types of ballots being used in this year’s elections. Two years after the seemingly forgotten debacle, I’m wondering whether anything has changed.

Our ballots were the same as they’ve always been: a two-sided sheet of paper with ovals that can be filled in with pencil or a provided felt-tip pen. The ballots are then fed into the large shredding-machine looking device for tallying. These ballots are clear enough and didn’t really need much reworking.

How about yours?

Posted in Politics

FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 10:12:00 am
Ours involve the ol' puncher with chad system. Once finished, they're run through a machine to check that all voting was proper.

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 1:15:07 pm
We had paper ballots where you had to draw a line from a black arrow to a black box that was situated next to each name. I had to read the directions twice to make sure i was doing it correctly. I hope we don't have to many old folks in the district - I could definately see them being confused by it.

What's wrong with sinple fill in the bubble sheets? We all used them in school, we understand them, less confusion will be the result. I tend to think the simplier the voting system, the better. And nothing is as simple as a number 2 pencil and an intelligent ballot design.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 1:18:38 pm
We have the machines with the display screen that you push the button for your choice and it lights up. State of the art, and easy to use too.

FROM: Kevan
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 1:43:29 pm
Last year we had the display touch screens - very nice, and you sat at a table instead of standing inside of a booth.

This year, back to the booth and the system of the year before, which was still clear and consise. What looks like a big sheet of paper, with boxes for each question - the choices were clearly laid out with a box next to their name (no mistaking what went with what). You press the box with your finger, which pushes a sensor behind the paper which makes an LED behind the box light up, shining red through the paper. Easy to change your vote as well, before pressing a big green vote button at the bottom.

Then a chime goes off, and you leave and get a sticker, coffee, and a donut. :-)

Ahh, good ole Arlington VA...

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 1:56:20 pm
Kevan -- A sticker, coffee, and a donut? Wow.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 3:08:34 pm
All I got was a paper receipt. I wanted a sticker, and a donut would have been swell.

FROM: Kevan
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 5:52:11 pm
Those of you with stickers - what were they like? Mine is a blue circle with a wavy American flag in the middle with the words "My Vote Counted".

I've also seen the fairly straightforward "I voted".

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 8:41:07 pm
I voted at a big machine with lots of levers and switches in the former home of the VA Holocaust Museum.

FROM: jk
DATE: Tuesday November 5, 2002 -- 9:34:21 pm
It was a big old machine with levers. I moved last year and this is the first time I voted in this neighborhood. The line was really long, and a nice man came through asking if we were all sure if we were in the right place. I was pretty sure, but not 100%, so I gave him my name. Then I spotted 4 neighbors and realized I was indeed in the right place. We had cookies and cider. Here in PA, only 3 out of 10 registered voters were expected to vote. That stinks. I can't say I like either of the candidates for governor, but my dad lived under two dictatorships so I HAVE to vote.

DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 8:14:40 am
Over in the UK we still mainly stick with the classic "put a cross in the box with a pencil" method... No issues with dodgy chads, but you still have the fallibility of the humans who count the votes. The other systems we can use (postal votes are common, but we are now experimenting with email votes or cellphone text votes) are more open to fraud.

We also seem to suffer with the problem of voter apathy. It's disgusting that only 3 in 10 turn out to have their say. I sometimes think we should go down the Australian route and have compulsory voting (having to pay a fine for your apathy would get a few more people out).

The best election recently (and it's one that George W and Jed would be proud of) was when Saddam had a 100% turnout and no votes against him!!

FROM: dave
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 4:27:53 pm
I voted in the lobby of my apartment building. Laura saw some guy voting in his pajamas.

As an aside...I work for a rather conservative agency of the federal government. And based on the constant baiting I heard directed towards myself and the few other enlightened liberals I work with, I have come to the conclusion that "compassionate conservative" is a load of crap.

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