[Thanks for Rec'ing this to the Rec. List... You people give me hope too!]
[Update 2: Please visit Video the Vote to learn about how to document the process outside the polls--after citizens have voted--not during. Also, check this out, from the NYTimes, regarding photographs. **I have removed a strong statement here about the practice of videoing your own voting, which seems unreasonable to me, but I am no lawyer** THANKS!]
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of heading in to my county municipal office to vote early. I was SO excited to finally get the opportunity to "pull the lever" in this decision.
THE PROBLEM was that my touch-screen voting machine inaccurately put a green check mark in the McCain/Palin box when I touched my guy's name. I followed the instructions and touched the incorrect check mark to "de-select" it and then used my pinky instead of my index finger to select Obama/Biden. That wasn't the end of my frustration, though.
In my state of WV there is the option of selecting a "Straight Party Ticket." I intended to vote a straight party ticket, but as my wife and I spoke on the way to the municipal building, we wanted the satisfaction of selecting EACH and every Dem. on the ticket. We also wanted to be assured that our vote was correctly recorded for each race. And we especially wanted the final satisfaction of having voted for Barack Obama (see a recent diary here that explains some of our "safety" concerns).
Three times the touch screen mistakenly assigned my preference to the wrong candidate. Now I'm a technologically savvy individual, so it didn't fluster me too much, having read the directions, knowing that I could immediately "un-check" one and select the other, and further knowing that there would be a screen at the end with a summary of my selections, and an opportunity to "Return to the Ballot," before actually casting the "VOTE." Not all voters are as tech savvy as me--in fact few of them are. There was an alert tone that sounded when I touched Obama/Biden, and a bright green check mark appeared in the box (the wrong one, of course, but I could have missed it), and the paper tape that keeps record was printed on and moved. I would imagine that MANY people would move on at that point...I mean, it sounded and "looked" like the right thing happened.
All this amidst word yesterday (and today) of:
- The Obama campaign's efforts to stymie the REAL voter fraud as practiced by the Republican party (thank God they are on top of this stuff);
- An excellent piece about protecting the vote on Bill Moyers Journal with Mark Crispin Miller who has written a book entitled "Loser Takes All," how timely given that the "Journal" was likely recorded before, and certainly was arranged and scheduled out ahead of the announcement of the Obama campaign noted above.
- McCain/Palin charge forward with more ACORN allegations, in the same strategy of distract at the fringe where we are outrageously vulnerable ourselves.
- Kula2316's Morning Reaction: "The Real America?" diary this morning that notes that I am not the ONLY person in West Virginia to have had some of these issues.
The only "good" news was that my very near neighboring state of OH was aided by the Supreme Court on the issue of the new voters that were in question.
It is worth noting to poll workers and volunteers to let folks waiting outside the polling area that the machines don't always interpret your "touching" correctly. Tell them to be sure to double check and confirm that their wishes are appropriately recorded. I've decided to spend a good portion of the day at the precinct trying to help.