Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting… Heidi’s Way

I voted today, but I shook my head when I saw the table flanked with white-haired people. I certainly don’t want any octogenarians to lose their jobs….but isn’t time we had some updates in our voting procedures?

In my district, we don’t use the glorious “Voting Machines” I longed to use as a kid in the 1970s. Instead of those old real booths with REAL curtains and little levers and a sliding handle that registered your vote AND opened your privacy curtain—the kind of machine that is fun to use…we have paper ballots and an ink pen to connect the arrow of the candidate of choice. Ho-Hum. I’m not saying voting should be like a pinball machine or Mario Kart…just MODERNIZE for Pete’s Sake!

I’m typing this on a modern machine. I spoke with several friends on this subject on a modern cell phone. Yet the ancient tradition of elderly women and men, writing voters names in cursive, double checking with their companions, and writing ballot numbers next to names is alive and IN USE in the Heartland in the year 2008!

Not that they don’t do a good job. People of that generation have exceptional cursive skills--probably beat into them. I’ve also been chewed out by one of the “Elderly Guardians of the Sworn Oath of the Vote” before. Once, years ago, at the prospect of standing in line for HOURS with my two small boys with me, I thought it made perfect sense, since the ballots were numbered anyway, to take my numbered ballot slip and come back later to cast my vote (thus lessening my time in 2 lines.) I thought I had a brilliant notion—one that would be taken note of. So I asked if it was possible...

One woman recoiled. One of them chuckled. The third one questioned my sanity and gave me such an evil-eye that I went back to the end of the line.


At the risk of angering the “Old Volunteer Army of Sacred Voting Procedures”….

…Why don’t we??:.

1. Make it a week long process? This would give EVERYONE a chance to vote? The lines would be smaller and there would be more flexibility.

2. Declare Election Day a national holiday so working people with kids can manage to get there—with pay would be even better.

3. Make absentee ballots easier to obtain. They should be as easy to get as IRS tax forms.

4. Vote electronically. We bank electronically, buy stuff electronically, and even file our taxes electronically. Why can’t vote from our homes?

Best of all, “Voting…Heidi’s Way”, old people can still remain employed and in power positions.

Just don’t make any strange requests of them---they really don’t like that.


Jenie Altruda said...

Vin and I stood in line in front of a woman originally from the Netherlands.

She told us the U.S. polling process was the likes of a third world country in comparison to the Netherlands, where, apparently, everyone is sent their ballot in the mail and given an individual bar code that is scanned into the system on election day.

For goodness sake, couldn't we all just vote on Facebook? :)

Marniferous said...

According to the WA state elections website, 38 of Washington's 39 counties vote by mail. Only Pierce County still maintains poll sites.

I can even put my name in to the county elections website and find out if my ballot's been received, and what stage of processing it's at. Representative government is finally as efficient as UPS package tracking. ;) At least in Seattle and environs.