sleeping

I performed the quintessential act of American citizenship

Up, dressed, out, voted, home. That's it for me today. That's all my body can manage.

Our polling place was busier than usual, with about twice the usual number of volunteers running it. The usual cheerful retirees were there, as well as a high-strung staff of young people. The machines are a new kind that I loathe, but not as bad as some electronic voting systems. I had to wait about 3 minutes to vote. Mr P didn't have to wait at all. There were three voting machines operational; one was down, the pollworker told me.

I could go into detail about why I dislike the current system and strongly prefer the older Sequoia optical-scan system, but possibly it would make your eyes glaze over.

I am a professional computer programmer. I think voting should be conducted with paper ballots, optically scanned but hand-countable if necessary. Nice, simple, fill-in-the-box paper ballots. 1) Programmers suck. 2) User interface designers suck. 3) The two sucks combine to disenfranchise voters and screw up elections, which are far too important to screw up because of some urge toward computerized everything. Why do we need electronic voting again? What problem are we solving? Ask that question and answer it carefully.

Now I spend the rest of the day chugging cough syrup, napping, and (late in the afternoon) watching election returns. Remember, folks, exit polls are useless. Wait for early returns.
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In Oregon, we don't have polling places anymore. They mail you your ballot and you either mail it back or drop it by an official drop site. I could rant about the problems there, too.
The Oregon system starts with an inherent advantage over other states' systems, though of course one can mess up the details. But still, I think I'd be sad to lose the event of voting. There's something about going to a set place with lots of other people to do it that makes me feel like I've taken part in democracy.
Problems: the idea was to make it easier for people to vote and thus increase voter turnout. However, if people aren't willing to take a half-hour of their day to go vote, how likely is it that they're going to be willing to take the time to figure out where they stand on issues and who the heck these candidates are, anyway? I mean, big stuff like Presidents everyone can't avoid knowing about, but the rest of it ... if they're not willing to take the time to think about it, I don't want/em> them voting, y'know? Then there's the fact that if, say, you have a woman in an abusive marriage her husband can fill out her ballot for her and force her to sign it (or at the very least make her show him before she signs and seals it) and under the current system there's no way to prevent that or figure out that it's happened. If you've got voting in a polling place, he can harrangue her all he wants up to the time she steps in that booth but once she does there's nothing he can do. Then there's the fact that with most of the ballots, nobody sees who puts them in the little lock-boxes. Even what little security against fraud you get when there are people checking your name off and probably not showing ID is lost--it's a lot easier to forge/fake/vote twice.
As another professional computer programmer, I must agree with you. We suck, UI designers suck, disenfranchisement is evil. In Rhode Island we have the optical scan paper ballots, and they worked wonderfully. I really miss those. Virginia uses a horrifying mishmash of electronic gizmos, different in every county. Nasty things.

If there are fates and gods and good voters in the lovely state of CA, I pray, please let Prop. 8 fail.

Get well soon!
I'm really pissed off about out of state religions dumping 20 million dollars into advertising for prop 8. Grumpy.
Here in the UK we still use paper ballots. I've never used an electronic voting format before, but having voted in the last elections we had here with local elections, London assembly and mayoral elections all on the same day, I was none too impressed with all the little bits of paper I had to cast my pretty X on. :)

Any how, I hope you feel better soon.
Paper is a pain to count, but it can be made easy to use for the voter. (And optical scanning makes it easy to count.) And it can be recounted, unlike some of the worst electronic systems. So paper is better than lots of other things we might use.
I hope you feel better soon. And I don't think I'm going to watch any telly this evening. I'll just hope the result is known when I wake up tomorrow morning.
In France, we still use paper ballot. I think some cities are trying electronic voting machines but they're not very popular.
I like the ritual with the paper, with the official saying "Has voted!".
For every election, citizens volunteer to count the votes. Did it once and I felt kinda good after, all citizen-y.

Hope you feel better soon.