Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pull my lever

Having only ever voted in NYC and by absentee ballot, I honestly never realized before 2000 that not everyone in country used these:
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When I was little, I'd go with my mom when she voted, and she'd let me flick the switches for her. I simply believed this was how voting worked everywhere. The big, bulky machines certainly feel secure, with the firm click of each voting switch, the satisfying chunk of the big lever when you finish. And none of the vote-count problems in recent years have happened in states that use them. I read somewhere recently that these old machines are very difficult to maintain and replace, and will have to be phased out soon. That makes me sad. Those levers and switches make me feel like I'm part of something much older and bigger than me in a way that touch screens never will. Though given the events of the last few years, maybe it's best that that illusion is shattered.

With all the hubbub around this election (by the way, Yay!), it was a little weird to walk into the voting booth and realize I had no idea what was going on locally. We get political ads for three states in the city, and I've been tuning them all out for weeks. Big races in other states have gotten more press. I kinda forgot I was voting on a new governor, though at least I was familiar with both candidates from their prior jobs and campaigns. I was most embarrassed to discover that I had never heard of Hillary Clinton's opponent. I'm guessing neither of them bothered to campaign much in the expensive and extremely blue NYC area, focusing their efforts upstate. But, really, I had no idea.

Oh well. I cast my vote for change, and change won. And I got to do it on the cool Democracy Machine.