Posted by on Tue, November 7, 2006

We'll be posting election results tonight. In the meantime, enjoy these photos of Coastsiders doing the right thing.

 border=Cheri Parr
Diana Kalos votes the "old fashioned" way
Cheri Parr
Precinct 3306 Farallone View team: Deb Kessler, Marta Jacobsen, Stephen Bradley, Rose Angelo(L to R)
Cheri Parr
Nancy Dare, Chelsey Silveria, Roy Salume (L to R)
 border=Cheri Parr
Seniors from Miss Balldock's Economics and Government class at HMB High School were paid $80 to work the polls.
Marta Jacobsen
Cheri with the new voting machine, which she declared "very easy to use".

I voted today using the new electronic voting machines.

The instructions provided by Nancy were clear so that everyone should feel comfortable giving the machine a try.

I had a pretty good experience with the interface.  All that you had to do was operate a dial to change the highlight on your candidate or ballot choices and then press the “enter” key.

Best of all, there was a paper record that you can review before the final submission of your ballot.

I don’t know if there’s an advantage to this new electronic voting over the optical scan ballot (which seemed to work very well in past elections.)

Comment 2
Wed, November 8, 2006 8:06am
jo laster
All my comments

I don’t know if those results your published are final final final, but I worked at the El Granada School and we passed in 186 Absentee votes for 2 precincts and a whole bunch of “provisionals” which may or may not be counted.  If these votes have not been counted in to the “final” results then they could well change. 

As I recollect we have changed results based on Absentee ballots in this race of previous occasions.

Comment 3
Wed, November 8, 2006 2:32pm
Steve Katz
All my comments

At our location, we were offered a choice of electronic or paper. Glad that I had a choice, I asked for a paper ballot. I also briefly stated my reasons for taking a paper ballot and got a snicker from one poll worker and an eye rolling from another. The one who snickered immediately offered me a voter registration card and explained how I can vote absentee next time - ostensibly to ensure he never had to see my face again. I guess they thought I was just another nutso Luddite not worthy of their regard.

I’ve heard all the reasons for electronic voting, but I’m still not sold. Ease of the interface represents a non-issue for me. I’m simply not comfortable with having my public right to vote controlled by a private corporation using closed, proprietary software. Voting just seems to me so fundamental, so essential a right, that I don’t like having that right controlled by people in a corporation who were not elected by the democracy. It seems to me that privatization of voting is just inappropriate.

Still, I know that the tide will move this way whether I like it or not. If the reaction of the poll workers is any indication, my opinions on the matter remain moot. I guess in the next election I’ll cast an absentee ballot. At least the post office won’t be passing judgement.

Comment 4
Wed, November 8, 2006 4:53pm
Mary Bordi
All my comments

Steve Katz writes:

“At our location, we were offered a choice of electronic or paper. Glad that I had a choice, I asked for a paper ballot. I also briefly stated my reasons for taking a paper ballot and got a snicker from one poll worker and an eye rolling from another.”

I’m going to have to speak up for the poll workers here, since Mr. Katz may have inadvertantly given the reader the idea that poll workers are uncaring or silly.

What time did you vote? If you voted late in the day, what you perceived as snickers and eye rolling may have simply been the state of catatonic giddiness that comes over some poll workers who have been at the polling place since before dawn and won’t be going home any time soon.

You didn’t actually tell the reader your “reasons for taking a paper ballot.” Were they as stated in your second paragraph? If they were something different (or even the same…), then perhaps they would have inspired snickers and eye rolling in the majority of readers, too!

Are you assuming you were among the minority in chosing a paper ballot? It might surprise you if you could compare the number of ballots cast via machine and the number via paper in your precinct. Perhaps the snickers and eye rolling were because you felt you had to state a reason or it was the 300th time that day they heard that reason.

If you want to help to assure that our voting is being conducted in a proper manner, become a poll worker.  :)

Insert humor disclaimer here

Comment 5
Wed, November 8, 2006 4:54pm
Hal Bogner
All my comments

On the electronic voting machines, one issue that I have not heard discussed is the lack of efficiency that results from the necessity of selecting and casting each vote, one at a time, while at the machine.

A single person ties up one electronic voting machine for the entire time he or she spends “marking the ballot”, and I am told that this was typically 10-15 minutes per voter at a pair of precincts where my wife served.

Contrast that with the amount of time the optical scanning machine requires to be fed a ballot and to either accept it or kick it out due to any sort of problem, and one is struck by the fact that the new machines cost voters the efficiency of all being able to fill their ballots out at the same time, as long as there is enough private, usable surface space available.

Is anyone reading this knowledgeable enough to address this issue?  If so, I’d like to know if this issue has been considered, and what conclusions it leads to.

Comment 6
Wed, November 8, 2006 5:57pm
Steve Katz
All my comments

Mary -

I don’t know. I guess the fact that I’ve never had anything but nice experiences with poll workers was what motivated me to comment. I do not think they’re uncaring or silly at all, which was why I was a little taken aback. My reasons amounted to, not a soapbox commentary, but really only one or two sentences saying that I didn’t at all trust the electronic machines. I don’t believe that what I said warranted the response I got, but I admit I do feel strongly about the issue. With that in mind, I cannot vouche for how I appeared on the other end of that interaction.

I did suspect a case of your “300th time” theory. It does get tiresome hearing the same complaint over and over -  though I did vote pretty early in the day. Voting is supposed to be a happy event, so perhaps they had no idea what I was on about. Again, I was surprised by their response. I wasn’t trying to be confrontational. It’s certainly not my nature to go picking on people who volounteer their valuable time as their civic duty. I guess in some odd way I felt like I was exercising my right of free speech while they just wanted me to take my ballot and quietly be on my way.

So, in conclusion, I respect and value poll workers, and next time I find myself voting at a precinct I vow to keep my big mouth shut (here’s my humor disclaimer).