Transterrestrial Musings

Defend Free Speech!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« The Ground Shifts In Redmond | Main | Half A Century Of American Spaceflight »

A Florida Voting Report

From Patricia:

I voted in the middle of the day, when lines were short at my polling location, in the assembly room of a neighborhood Catholic church. At the beginning of the sidewalk to the polling place, I was met by a woman who asked me if I wanted to participate in an exit poll. Being the suspicious person that I am, I declined, noting that she was sitting close to people with Obama and Clinton campaign signs. Not accepting my decline, she asked again, telling me in a serious tone that my participation would allow them to assure that the voting machines were working correctly. I laughed, and declined again and continued walking toward the polling place passing by the exit-poll table set up in the shade of the building, manned by three or four nicely dressed men. I was met just outside the door to the polling place by an official in a vest who asked to see my voter registration card, which I showed him. After looking at the card, he directed me to the table right inside the door.

Once inside, I could see that other tables were set up for other precincts voting at this location. I went to my precinct table right inside the door as directed and found about five people in the line in front of me. The table was set up with signs designating alphabetical groupings and women in chairs on the other side of the table to look up voter names in printouts of registered voters matching the alphabetical groupings. Apparently, all the people in front of me had last names in the same alphabetical grouping as mine. There were no people in front of the other alphabetical groupings. And they were all problem voters. None of them had voter registration cards, or knew what precinct they were from, but nevertheless ended up at my precinct table. One by one their names were looked up in the one copy of S-Z and not found. After a few irrelevant questions from the women behind the tables: Are you married? Did your husband vote here? Did you move? Are you sure you are registered? These generally provoked irritated responses from them. After wasting time thusly, they were then sent to another table where a man with a computer would help them.

I finally got to the front of the line, but since the S-Z printout was in use, I had to wait a bit longer for my name to be found in it. Finally, my name was found in the S-Z printout. I signed on the appropriate line in the printout and, after the woman behind the desk scrutinized my sloppy signature for a match with my registration card, she gave me my ballot and sent me to the voting booths. Immediately available for my use were at least ten booths. Since the process of signing in created such a delay, getting a ballot and the amount of time to vote was short, due to only a couple of items on the ballot, and no lines had formed to use them. The bottleneck was clearly the sign-in process, not the number of machines.

Voting took me only a few seconds on the new touch-screen voting machine. I returned my ballot and received my "I Voted" stamp. Pleased with myself for exercising my voting rights in this wonderful democracy, wadding up my stamp, I walked past the exit-poll table where several poor schmucks who had agreed to take the exit poll were filling out paperwork, surrounded by three or four men ready to answer questions, or ask them, I really don't know.

Ah, democracy, how confusing for those who don't know what precinct they live in, or bother to change their address on their voter registration, or read their mail when they get their card, or believe campaign workers who assure them that voting machines are working correctly.

Remember, this is from the heart of "hanging chad country."


0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: A Florida Voting Report.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Leland wrote:

Good post from Patricia.

Jonathan wrote:

I voted last Friday. Didn't have to wait, everything was easy. Every time I vote (post 2000) I marvel at the exceptional idiocy of the rushed political process that brought us high-tech electronic voting machines that run on proprietary software and don't provide an audit trail, a hashed receipt for the voter, or even a clear indication (beyond the brief flash of a small light) that a vote has been cast. If the FL voting authorities had just handled the voting-machine design and evaluation process with a bit more deliberation we might now have a reliable electronic system. Instead they have unfairly discredited electronic voting for another generation at least. Or maybe govt is so inherently stupid that we are better off with paper ballots and #2 pencils. That's a lousy system too but at least its flaws are widely understood.

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on January 29, 2008 12:20 PM.

The Ground Shifts In Redmond was the previous entry in this blog.

Half A Century Of American Spaceflight is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1