November 7th, 2006


Voting Irregularities

I voted. Went to my polling place (training room of the fire station down the block) at 9:15 am, and there was a line 5 deep. All 5 polling station were busy, but there is only one sign-in book, so only one of the 5 volunteers had any work to do, until someone signed in and then one more volunteer enabled an ATM-style card for the voter to use in the touchscreen machine. I was happy to see all the voters take their time, and maybe 2/3 had their pre-marked novelette sample ballot in hand.

The volunteers all did a splendid job. If I had a hat, it would be off to them. They ranged in age pretty evenly from 18 to (I'm guessing) 70. The youngest did the electronic stuff, the oldest did the sign-ins.

Two complaints about the polling place:

1. The screens for the voting machines faced the sign-in desk at a 45-degree angle. This meant that all of us waiting in line to vote could see 4 out of the 5 voters' choices.

2. There was no provision for the 5-person-deep line between getting a card and getting to vote. People did not understand the concept of "one line". The way the voting machines were arranged directly in front of the sign-in table, it was as easy to line up for a particular machine as it was to do the "first come, first served" queue. While we all silently figured it out, I can see where it could cause altercations.

One complaint about the voting machine:
The man ahead of me had voted in Spanish. A message screen, completely in Spanish, stayed up for about 2 minutes after I insert my card (it would not go in all the way) before it cleared and asked me to choose a language. I realized then that the Spanish was saying "take your card to the election official". As soon as I inserted my card the message should have cleared, but it didn't. Where do I file a bug?

One complaint about the voters:
Too many showed up with just a driver's license. This slowed down the line considerably, as some of those people had moved, and this was not their polling place. One person ahead of me had to be hit over the head by the Clue Fairy, when he told them he had updated the address on his license after he moved, but had not sent in a change of address to voter registration. They looked up his old address and polling place for him, and sent him there. And suggested he go home and find his voter's pamphlet (which is probably either in the trash or was not forwarded from his old address).

  • It went a lot quicker once I decided to vote "No" on all the propositions.
  • Plenty of free parking
  • It's nice to see an acquaintance on the ballot
  • The ATM card maker volunteer is DDG
  • Head Volunteer said there were > 100 voters by 9:15 am


I posted this in a reply on

kevin_standlee's LJ, but it deserves its own spotlight here.

How weird is this? On today's ballot:

  • Treasurer is running for Governor
  • Atty. Gen. is running for Treasurer
  • Ex-governor is running for Atty. Gen.
  • Lt. Gov. is running for Insurance Commissioner
  • Insurance Commissioner is running for Lt. Gov.
  • Appointed Secretary of State is running for election to that office
  • Tax board member is running for State Controller
  • And someone with degrees from MIT and Standford is running for the tax board. I'd say she's over-qualified, but then I saw this:
    • 4 Year Term. Salary: $154,875


Recorded Election Phone Calls

The hype continues. So far I have received pre-recorded spam phone calls from:
Some nurse, against some prop
An environmental group leader, I have never heard of. click.
Dianne Feinstein, supporting Anna Eshoo
Bill Clinton, supporting his "good friend" John Garamendi for Lt. Governor
Robert Redford, something about change (I hung up before hearing his message)
Someone from the CA homeowners assn. (I don't own a home. click)
Bill Clinton, supporting Prop 87

And one live call, completely out of place on election day, asking me to donate to breast cancer research.

The night is young, 2.5 more polling hours, maybe I'll get more.

Oh yeah, I've had two pollsters phone at inconvenient times. One on Sunday and one Monday, both during football games.

The calls have zero effect on my voting, though the Clinton/Garamendi call did make me look on the candidate's web site to see if Clinton really knew him as anything other than the name of a Democrat on a long list. The answer is maybe - Clinton appointed his wife Patti as associate Peace Corps director and John as deputy Interior secretary. Rare for husband and wife to both be appointed unless they are personal friends.