Election day

Like many of my neighbors, and many of my fellow Americans I went to vote today. I always  vote, even when I know nearly nothing about the candidates. But it’s my civic duty to vote, so I do. Usually, it takes nearly no time to vote at PS 163 around the corner from my house. At some of the smaller more local elections I may be one of only a handful of voters in the gym of 163. 
National elections always bring out a bigger crowd. This is the line I stood on today at about noon.

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Yes, the line was long, but in 2008 it went all the way to Columbus Avenue and doubled back to Amsterdam Avenue.
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This is what I saw once I got up to the top of the school steps.voting 2012 (6)voting 2012 (5)

Some people were spreading the false rumor that if you knew your election district you didn’t have to wait on line. Every few minutes a parade of people would walk in the school and announce that they knew their election district and demand to go in. Those poor people had to go to the back of the line.

Each person I spoke to waxed nostalgic about the old grey voting machines. The new computerized system feels like  a flimsy stop-gap way to vote. Each voter waits at the table for their election district and then  is signed in by hand by an election worker. Then you get a ballot and a manila folder.  You wait for a carrel where you fill in your ballot. You put your ballot back in the manila folder and wait on line for the scanner. Once you get to the scanner you hand your folder back to the  poll worker sitting next to the scanner.

It’s natural to get chatty with your fellow voters.  Everyone I spoke to was nostalgic for the old grey mechanical voting machines. Shifting that heavy lever made you feel like your vote was a real act. That physical sensation was so satisfying, you could hear and feel your vote being registered.  The woman who manned the scanner suggested that I move her hand after I scanned my vote. I did, but it wasn’t really the same

When I was done voting, this was the line of people waiting to vote.
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Comments

  1. Dear Sarah, How you could make me laugh on this day when I am so concerned about the outcome, I don't know-but you did. Moving the election lady's hand, ha ha; but it wasn't the same, double ha has. The blessing of the rule of law will keep us going as a nation, above personalities and problems.

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  2. That's quite a line!
    Those gray machines were nostalgic, but just because they were mechanical doesn't mean that they were infallible. They weren't and they were often inaccurate and they broke down leaving people in those long lines. At least this system has both an electronic ballot and a paper back up. Seems a whole lot more secure and accurate and at least the ballots can be checked if there is an issue.

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  3. Marishka - I assume that EVERYONE is concerned about the outcome. It would have been great if the poll worker lady had provided a bit more resistance...but it was a good effort anyway.

    Nancy - I know rationally that the big grey hulks were prone to breaking down and could be fiddled with. But casting a vote on those old hulks felt like you had really done something. I do miss that.

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