Late last week I was asked by christianneil to be a contributer for disciplinegrid. At first I was going to write a truly technogeek post on my love of techno-toys, but today's experience at the touch screen voting machine seemed appropiate. As you will soon see, the inclusion of high technology does not always guarantee a smooth running election.
Fun at the Polls - ( x-posted in my lj)
Since its the main theme of the day - I decided I'll describe today's voting experience in South Douglas County. I arrived at Bill Arp Elementary School at about 2:50 to see the parking lots jammed with cars and trucks of every type. Yep, long lines just as predicted.
Once inside, things proceeded rather orderly. Voter forms were passed out while we were in line to speed things up and though the line stretched the length of the lonest hall in the school, within 25 minutes I was inside the Gym to get checked in. The populace was then subdivided into 3 groups arranged alphabetically - A to G, H to P and Q through Z. My line, H to P was at least three times longer than the other two lines combined. In this age of computers and databases - WTF? It wouldn't take a genius to subdivide the registered voters into 1/3rds and then set-up the alphabetical sequence from there.
But this is the GREAT state of Georgia - so perhaps this is asking too damned much.
Well, OK - so I was in a my 'group' line for another 15 minutes, but I figured that was a small price to execute my consitutional right. Soon it was my turn to vote on the computerized touch screen voting machine. Now I don't understand all the damned fuss about these devices that have been plaguing the news here for weeks. This touch screen system seemed idiot-proof. It works much like any ATM - except its better laid-out and more intuitive. And unlike the dreaded punch machines - you can both review and change any/all your votes in the end.
Seems simple, eh? Well remember that the average person is nowhere near as educated and computer savvy as a lj user or general techno-geek I usually associate with. So yeah, I suppose it can be still tampered with and/or mucked up by the marginally mentally functional voter.
Now for the election itself - its interesting to note the candidates that were listed on the ballot. Only the presidential, congressional and a couple of the high-level state races were contested - about 3/4 were incumbant republicans. It felt sort of Stalinistic to see all these unopposed races. But this seems typical for Georgia as in the city of Atlanta its nearly the reverse - all democratic.
Yes, one must feel truly proud at how well the system works after over 200 years..