I Like the Way My District Does Voting

I have voted in a lot of different states, but the way we do it here in my current district seems to work well.  I got my ID checked against the voting record -- the lady may an explicit check to make sure the addresses matched.  Then I got a paper ballot and a black magic marker.  Next to each name is an arrow pointing to the name with a gap in it.  One fills in and completes the arrow pointing to the candidate one is voting for.  Then, when done, the voter takes the ballot to a machine that looks like a big shredder.  She/he feeds the ballot into the slot, and the ballot is automatically read and counted right there.  There is a LED readout on the front with a total ballot count that increments by one if the ballot is read correctly, providing a psychologically satisfying feeling that one's vote has been counted.  At the end of the day no further counting is required, and I presume they pull the vote counts out electronically or with some kind of summary report.  The ballots stay in a locked vault in the scanner and provide a paper trail if the count has to be checked later. 

By the way, no line at all.  Glad I didn't wait 2+ hours last weekend to vote early in order to avoid the lines.  One has to wonder at the decision-making ability of folks who waited hours to vote early to avoid lines that couldn't possibly be any longer on election day.  Good to see such folks out voting ;=)

  • zjohna

    I voted in SC today (no early voting in our fair state). They had two laptops they used to check voters. One was labeled A-L and the other was labeled M-Z. I was in the first line and it took me 2 hours to vote. But there are a lot less people with last names that start with M-Z. Upon exiting I asked a person from that line how long it took them to vote. They answered, "About 15 minutes."

    Of course, the person operating the M-Z laptop couldn't check in A-L people. "It doesn't work that way."

    Government. Ya gotta love it. I can't wait till it has even more control over my healthcare.

  • Anonymous

    Like Coyote, I to find the Arizona method to be sound. This year (apparently) I signed up for an early ballot and could not run it through the machine at the polling place, but had to put it in a bin. I have a concern that someone will decide that my signature does not match the one on file and my vote(s)will be dicarded.

  • Sol

    Exactly the same system here as Warren describes, but it took two hours for us to get through the line and vote. Ugh.

  • Sol

    Should have read the comments before posting -- we had basically the same problem as zjohna describes. People who got in line behind us from the other end of the alphabet made it through the line 30-40 minutes faster than we did.

  • DKH

    I live in Pima County, AZ. I got to the voting station at ~6:50 this morning. After 10 minutes in line, it was clear that there was no way I would get to vote within an hour. Oh well, guess I'll go back later. (As a side note, the school (U of A) newspaper also showed pretty incredible early voting lines as well.)

  • Steve

    Oklahoma has used the same optical scanning system statewide and has for at least 15 years. I don't understand why other locations don't adopt it. Easy to count and a permanent record if recount is required.

    Took me less than 10 minutes to vote at 0930- I was the 300th voter at my precinct as per the LED.

  • http://highwayx.wordpress.com Highway

    That's the exact method we had... that they took away to go to these damned touch-screen devices.

    The optical system is too good, I guess. Too many advantages:

    - Paper record directly from the voter (original captured ballot)
    - Instant recognition of spoiled ballots, allowing for re-voting
    - Electronic counting, with only a single machine needed per precinct.
    - Almost infinite capacity, as the machine doesn't take long to deal with a person (certainly shorter than people checking ID's or anything like that) and you just add more pens and places to write if you need more throughput.
    - Easy for people to understand, and easy to correct if they don't.

    It makes sense, which is why they worked so hard to get rid of it here in Maryland, I guess.

  • Methinks

    In and out in less than 5 minutes in Connecticut. We had the same scanner as you have in Arizona. I too like the way they are scanned and counted right away. This is my first election in CT. In NYC we had those ancient lever machines.

  • http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com MaxedOutMama

    GA used to have the same system, and it was great. Then in the wake of the 2000 election and all the associated hysteria we went to the electronic machines. I hate them, and it takes longer and it's harder to do. I especially hate not having the paper trail. The optical scanner system allows for genuine recounts, and the voting machines don't.

  • DKH

    Should give an update from my earlier experience. I went back at 5:00, expecting long lines due to people leaving work. I was wrong; I got in and out in 10 minutes. So, overall experience was good.

  • coyote little sis

    Took me less than 12 minutes from the time I pulled into the church parking lot. way better than the 3 hour early voting folks. TV did a segment on how the Az. type ballot confounds many folks. hunh?

  • Marc

    Less than 5 minutes in and out here in San Diego(east county suburban), even with the extraordinary number of Propositions,bond initiatives, etc that show up on the ballot in CA.

  • http://cardioblogy.blogspot.com/ Jens Fiederer

    Linked to you and put my own two cents on the balloting here:

    http://cardioblogy.blogspot.com/2008/11/elections-how-to-do-it-right.html