Election Day

Civic duty done with the newest technology

by / November 7, 2006
On my way into work I stopped at the local polling place, at the fire station around the corner from my house, which has been the polling place since we moved here 20 years ago. When I was little I can remember going there with my mom, watching her pull the handle and punch the card (she'd let me look if I promised to keep her vote secret). So here I was, a young American doing her civic duty by voting on Election Day.

Today, I stood in line with other voters on their ways to work, watching the High School student volunteers passing out "I Voted" stickers and marking off voter names in books. I noticed that there was one booth empty and wondered why no one was using it -- let's get moving people! A poll worker must have read my mind because he told the line of voters "We've got one booth open, folks. Or do you all want your paper ballot?"

So that was it. The voters in front of me were waiting for the booths which used Optical Scan voting machines -- "fill-in-the-bubble" style which are scanned by a machine. It was then I noticed that the empty booth was an electronic voting machine.

I peeked my head around the line and raised my hand: "I'll use it."

Using the machine was simple, much like taking an online quiz or using an ATM machine. A card was put into the machine, and the ballot appeared on the screen which looked exactly like the sample ballot. The prompts were easy to follow and voting took the same amount of time as using the punch cards and optical scan ballots had in the past.

Not only was this electronic voting machine easy to use, it had a paper trail, which many people have been worried about. It was printed on a paper roll under a clear window so I could read the print out but not take it with me (which is in compliance with voting regulations).

Everything looked good so I pushed the red "cast ballot" button, got my "I voted" sticker, and headed into work, my civic duty done by using the newest technology.

Gina M. Scott Writer