I voted early. That is not something I normally do. I have voted by mail before. So, to vote, I went to where I normally vote, no one there. So I figured out that I had to go to the Election Board office. When I got there, I was surprised to see the voting being done by computer. Well, OK, I suppose the future is here now, so let’s do this.
I had no idea what to expect but I thought the equipment would be a tad more advanced than what looked to me to be some sort of colorized Tandy 1000 knock off with cheap headsets.
There was only the one issue to vote for. I stuck a 14-inch or so long by 3-inch wide glossy, white, stiff, blank, “ballot” into the slot, the one issue came up to vote on the compute screen, and after several more clicks than I thought should be needed, my vote was cast and the machine printed out the issue and my vote on the ballot.
Next step, put the printed “ballot” in the “ballot collection machine”(?), which looked to be about the size and shape of a PacMan arcade machine. A voter ahead of me stuck his ballot in the wrong slot and it jammed. An attendant come in and opened up the machine to un-jam the ballot so I got the opportunity to see its hidden mysteries. I assume the ballot goes into the machine to be counted and after that I could see that it then falls randomly into a big rectangular plastic tub sitting at the bottom of the machine. I guess adding a feature to stack them after counting was too much of a stretch.
This raised some questions in my mind. How much did all this new hardware cost? Why can’t I just vote from computer at home? Is there a cell phone app for this?
Now, I am not knocking the trend to digitalize the voting experience. I am 75 years old and have been dealing with paper ballots all this time so suddenly having to use a computer to vote was a real eye opener. It was OK. Just, kind of strange. If I were to write a headline for this it would be: ATHENS COUNTY ELECTIONS GO DIGITAL ON THE CHEAP
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