Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic


Went to my new polling place, the all-purpose room of the Chinese Christian Church on the other side of the expressway & railroad/light rail tracks. Puzzling location, since we have an elementary school right next door.

Arrived at 9 am, pulled into the last remaining slot in the undersized parking lot, and joined the line which was five people long outside the side door. Looking inside, there were about 20 more people lined up in the foyer, and that line went out of sight into another room. The line did not move for about 5 minutes.

It was a slow and unsteady trip across the foyer, with seven or eight more people past that door waiting to be signed in. There was a single sign-in table, with a little old lady in tennis shoes and pink sweats doing the sign-in book, and a little not-quite-as-old fellow (who looked Filipino but was wearing a Chinese "Bilungual" name tag) checking ID. If you had your smaple ballot with your name/address/precinct printed on it like I did, that was all the ID you needed. Otherwise he asked for a driver's license or photo ID, and checked your name against a second list. My name wasn't on the second list since I'd just moved, but that wasn't a problem for them.

After signing The Book, it was another 5-minute wait (with two people ahead of me) to get an ATM-style card from the teenaged girl running the machine which wiped the info from the previous voter and made the card ready for the next voter. There were 5 portable touchscreen voting machines, and although there were enough electrical outlets for each machine to have its own, some rocket scientist had daisy chained the power cords so that they all got their power from a single outlet. If someone accidentally knocked out the cord, which was not very securely scotch taped in place, all five machine would go dead. Also, the venue could easily have accomodated 30 voting machines and four sign-in tables.

Anyhow, I put the ATM card into the slot, got a message to touch the center of the screen to begin, which disappeared when I took my hand off the card, and the card ejected. My bad, I had not pushed the card in all the way. Pushed it back in, touched the screen, and started voting.

I have to say it was a very well-done layout. You are presented with two columns, one for each race or issue, and when you touch the big circle next to your choice, it puts a check mark in the circle, removes all the non-choices, and resizes the column to show just the race/issue and your checked choice. Change your mind? Just touch the check mark, it disappears, and all your choices re-materialize. Spiffy.

Except for the one bug.

When the page came up which had my state senate and state assembly races, I selected the Republican candidate for senator, and it automagically selected the Republican assembly candidate for me, and removed all the other choices from the screen. No major problem, I just unchecked the Republican, the choices re-appeared, and I checked the Democrat for state assembly.

It could have been telekinesis. I was thinking "Throw the bums out" when I hit the senator candidate choice.

With city council elections, three county ballot measures and about a dozen state measures, it took about 5 minutes to vote, even though I had marked my choices on the sample ballot on Sunday. At the end of the balloting, it showed a page with all the candidates & issues and your choices for you to review. It got all of mine right.

When I finished, I took the card back to the teenaged boy sitting next to the teenaged girl, and he gave me an "I voted by touchscreen" sticker.

Start to finish, the process took 45 minutes. This was way too long. However, I didn't see anybody leave the line, and only a couple of people walked away when they saw how long the line was.

In addition to the four workers I mentioned, there was also a middle-aged Chinese man who stood by to help answer any questions at the voting machines, and to process provisional ballots. I saw two people vote by provisional ballot while I was there. One woman had just moved, and did not have anything to prove her new residence. I didn't catch the reason for the man who was voting that way, but they were not together. It was basically the absentee ballot, which was dated and signed by the polling worker and put through a slot in a special box. I did not see if it said "recycle" on the box. ;-)

Kudos go to the five polling place workers, who did their jobs with charm, grace, tact and smiles.

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