I Voted Today. Ask Me How!


I just got back from voting at the local Methodist church, where I filled in ovals on two long sheets of paper (two columns each) with a fine-point black marker, then slipped the sheets into a reader that looked like a combination of a fax machine and a shredder. This optical-scan method automatically creates a paper trail and avoids hanging chads, but it's probably my least favorite way of voting, laborious and reminiscent of standardized tests (and almost as time-consuming, given all the judges and bond issues on the ballot in Dallas). I even prefer New York's ancient mechanical voting machines, with their levers and swoosh of the curtain, although they probably were nearly as open to fraud as the most hackable Diebold machine. Although I understand the concerns about manipulation and the need for a backup record, I like touch-screen machines like the ones they have in Northern Virginia the best. They're adaptable and easy to use, and they minimize butterfly-ballot-style confusion for anyone who is comfortable using an ATM machine. Back in November 2000, when the Florida fiasco highlighted the problems with punch cards, I naively endorsed electronic voting as an eays fix. I'm still hoping they can get the bugs out.