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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We eco-farmers feel it is our patriotic duty to vote in all elections (even the local ones for the mental health levy and a primary for the township trustees) and I'd say between Eugene and me we have voted in about 90% of all elections since we have been together.

So yesterday we were not about to shirk our duty as Americans and miss out on the vote. We voted around 2pm. We voted in a new precinct for the first time in 13 years and this was also our first time using the new electronic voting technology. We were in a new precinct because we moved last year but did not get reregistered until after last year's november election. We voted in some evangelic church along with 4 other precincts. There was a good crowd especially for an off year election and the fact it was between lunch and quitting time. I guess there are a lot of full time farmers and retired folks in our precinct.

I was paranoid that I would not be allowed to vote, that either my DL would not be sufficient (so I took my passport and voter registration card as well) or that my name had been purged from the rolls. So I get to the guy who has the big book of eligible voters and he cannot find my name (oh shit...I knew it!). But he turns the page and there I am, the last O in the book. He looks at my ID and lets me sign and I am on my way (whew!).

Preble County is the last county in Ohio to go electronic so this was my first time voting not using the punch system that in the past would occasionally leave unsightly chads behind. Since no one wants an unsightly chad Ohio switched from a tried and true balloting system to a new and unproven system. Preble County now has optical scanners. This makes filling out a ballot pretty much like taking a computerized exam only you use a black pen and not a #2 pencil. In order to vote you needed 3 things, a ballot, a black pen (not blue!) and a big manilla folder to hide your completed ballot while on the way to the scanner device that would eat the ballots and record our votes. The thing looked like a cross between a xerox copier and a trash can but it did its' job. I had to wait on a pen and a folder for a few minutes (they really should have sent someone out to the nearest store to buy a few more pens and several more folders as there were not enough to go around and people were waiting needlessly. As voter complaints go this is tiny). But soon I had my pen and folder and was ready to completely darken the appropriate circles so I sat down at a nearby table and got to work filling out my ballot. I pretty much voted a straight Democratic ticket and voted yes on some levys, no on others and voted for or against the 5 issues on the ballots. Than I tore off the stub of each ballot (I had two pages so basically two ballots-it was a busy election for Ohio) and carefully put my completed ballot into the manilla folder they had provided to me and walked the 10 feet over to the scanning device, dropped the ballot stubs into the receptacle taped to the side of the scanner and fed my ballot sheets into it and it registered some numbers on the LED and I was done.

Than I waited about 5 minutes for Eugene to finish up. He had to wait for a pen and folder as well and is as slow as molasses when it comes to voting. Soon enough he was finished and we hopped in the van and went south 1/2 hour to pick up our weekly share of raw milk, which is a story in itself.

1 comment:

Peter comly said...

We are not even advanced enough to have punch card ballots. We get to darken the oval with a pencil, then slide our ballot out of out manilla envelope into a box with a padlock on it. As a Pennsylvanian it was a great honor to help nail down the lid on (P)Rick Santorums coffin.