Unlike most Americans, I decided to vote in the primary last night. I have to say I had some major frustrations with the voting process. Although I should be ashamed to say that I only voted because of a super heated local issue and not the presidential primary, I’m not. None of the candidates from either side really made me care enough to vote for them to be worth the 2 hours it took me.
In all fairness though it would only taken me 30 minutes and not 2 hours to vote had there not been an issue with my ballot . The scantron machine straight up refused to read my ballot and keep rejecting it after attempting to run my ballot through several times.
This caused me to wait in a secondary line for well meaning, but older gentlemen, who was clearly not computer literate, to manually go through the ballot, conform your vote with you, very loudly I might add, and add to it the computer.
This caused me to wait in a secondary line for well meaning, but older gentlemen, who was clearly not computer literate, to manually go through the ballot, conform your vote with you, very loudly I might add, and add to it the computer. After watching him take thirty minutes per person and having two more people in front of me I said “fuck it” and decided to ask for a new ballot.
I told the kind lady that the machine wouldn’t read my ballot and if I had to wait any longer for the gentlemen to go through each ballot by hand that I didn’t want to vote. It just wasn’t worth the time investment. She asked me a couple of questions, tore my old ballot, and gave me a new one.
After a second attempt of filling out the ballot and returning to the dreaded scantron machine I was relived to see it take my ballot on the first attempt, albeit 2 hours later.
After the whole ordeal a few things entered my mind.
1: If it’s going to take 2 plus hours to vote it’s just not worth the effort. Now you go making any snap companions such as: Waiting in line for the next iPhone vs Waiting in line to vote please keep in mind that you are not comparing apples to apples (No pun intended). It’s more like apples to pocky. Both effect my life, day to day and otherwise, but do so in different ways.
2: We live in a hyper digital age. The Asus computers the volunteers were using were government issued and the ballot result were directly feed into a data base in real time. If thats the case why can’t I go online to vote? Why do I have to suffer through some arcaninic system in order to vote? The government should be making this easy in order to get more people to vote, not making it harder and time consuming. There has to be a better way.
An Imperfect Solution:
In pocket I hold a device that I can access all the information in the world at a moments notice from anywhere at any time.
Why can’t I vote from my pocket?
Why can’t I vote on the internet? My scantron form is automatically uploaded to a database somewhere lets remove the middleman which is the scantron form.
Heres what I propose: Snail Mail every single American of voting age a one time use pin every election. This pin, along with your social security number, drivers license id, or state id will log you into to a simple form. You hit some checkboxes and BAM! You’ve voted.
The pin would be a one time use pin. Once it’s used it can never be used again.
This plan of course is not without it’s faults.
1: It assumes everyone either has knows their social security number or has access to their state id or drivers license number.
2: It assumes everyone can access the internet.
3: It assumes that we can reach everyone via snail mail.
4: Not everyone is comfortable with the internet.
Point 3 aside, I can’t do much about point number one other than say if your an adult over 21 years of age that you should know your social security number. Point two can be solved by simply opening up polling locations with internet connected computers. As for point four, well, get over it, almost anytime you do anything it’s recorded online somewhere.
If all I had to do to vote was go to a web page, enter both numbers, and fill out a simple form I know I would vote more often and pay more attention to politics.
As it stands right now, if I have to wait two hours to vote for the president I probably won’t. Something needs to be done and maybe my solution isn’t it but our current system doesn’t work either.
Thoughts? Do you have a better system? How was your voter experience? Am I way off in complaining about this? Please be civil.