Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

ELECTRONIC VOTING....A REPORT FROM THE FIELD....I have just gotten aboard the touchscreen voting freight train and I proclaim it....kind of weird.

You sign in as usual and they give you some kind of computer generated code. Go over to the voting machine and enter your code.

Oops, it's not a touchscreen after all. There's some kind of funky wheel and you turn the wheel until the first digit of your code lights up. Press enter. Do it again for the second digit, etc. Then the ballot comes up. Use the wheel to highlight the person you want to vote for.

This wheel doohickey would not work well on a ballot with 135 candidates, but luckily this is a garden variety Democratic primary in Orange Country, which means that most races have only one candidate and we're lucky to even get that many civic minded folks willing to take it on the chin for the good of the party. (They will all lose in November by wide margins.)

When you're done, press the red "Cast Ballot" button and then go home. No paper receipt, of course.

Luckily I didn't make any mistakes, but I'm not sure what would happen if I did. What if I pressed the "Cast Ballot" button by mistake? Can I get my ballot back? I imagine this happens with paper ballots too, and the answer in both cases is "tough luck," but it seems a little different with an electronic system. After all, handing in a paper ballot and then rushing back to inform the pollworkers that you've changed your mind is one thing, but accidentally voting for the wrong person is quite another. Not sure how they handle that.

Kevin Drum 2:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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