Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Voting in Person - Being Part of the Process

When I'm going to be out of town I vote absentee, and whenever I do I'm offered to become a permanent absentee voter.

Terri is and for a long time I went back and forth about whether to do it. It certainly is easy. In general I avoid lines whenever I can. I use self checkout at the grocery store, I rarely go into banks except to do something complicated like reassign all of my accounts to my trust (another post, another day), I don't even stand in line to go skiing - I have a day pass that they scan at the lift. But there's something about participating in the voting process. Maybe I just like see the workings of it all. Something I'm normally not a part of similar to courtrooms, police stations and television studios. I've had 3 surgeries and the prep for each of those was endlessly fascinating.

I guess it's (a) watching an unfamiliar process and (b) wanting to feel a part of it. That will probably change as I age but for now it's kinda fun. Maybe it's hearing too many times things like: well we know what the results are but we can't say for sure until we count those loser absent ballots. (Well that's what my brain hears). Given that a huge percentage of California votes absentee that's got to change.

Mechanics: My area got rid of voting machines quite soon after they became so controversial. I voted with a pen (no chad) on paper, and then fed it into an Op Tech scanner (it kept the paper). There was a small printer on it but it didn't print a receipt though I got the proof of voting tear off stub. - wonder if I could have gotten an actual receipt. I think the scanner provides a nice compromise. There is a paper copy, but it can tally the votes faster and if there's a scanning issue the voter is right there to fix things. I'm sure you can screw around with the scanner, but it's a pretty established technology. No, I didn't bring a camera as I trust my heavily democratic district. There's never been an obvious voting scandal here.

Oh and after all my agonizing? I voted for Obama.

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