Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I voted at my polling place in a church around the corner from my apartment.

A beautiful Fall afternoon. As I walked over sidewalks covered with an amazing array of colors from the fallen leaves, I felt incapable of describing them, so vivid so Autumnal, such a range of hues from bright yellow to deep red and everything in between.

One of the main things I'm grateful I moved back East almost ten years ago for—the colors of the Fall.

There was a slight wait at the church as the poll folks worked out a problem with a first time voter whose registration seemed to have problems. That made me nervous.

Then inside the curtains there was one of those new electronic voting machines. I missed the solemn and reassuring heaviness of the old metal lever kind (built incredibly heavy so that they couldn't easily be stolen) as I touched the screen and cast my vote.

I also felt thrilled and overwhelmed with gratitude that I've lived long enough to cast my vote for a man who is at least partially African-American.

In fact when I woke up this morning and turned on the news on the radio, I felt my eyes tearing up at the thought of this amazing day's arrival.

After I walked back home and ran some errands and spent some time with my eleven-year-old, I watched a documentary on the 2004 presidential election and the problems with electronic voting machines (especially Diebold, the company owned and operated by Republican activists, including the CEO who declared in a letter a year before the 2004 election that he would make sure the vote in Ohio went to Bush). It's called HACKING DEMOCRACY.

Then I wanted to cry for other reasons.

The thing to watch as always are the exit polls, which declared Al Gore the winner, correctly in 2000, including places that were declared for Junior, and declared Kerry the winner by a small margin in 2004, especially in those places in Ohio where the Diebold machines made the most trouble and were proven to be easily hacked.

Gore chose not to fight on, Kerry chose not to fight at all. If the exit polls show Obama the winner and the machines show McCain won, I hope Obama and his campaign have the will and the courage to finally challenge these voting machines in public and in court until this system is changed for good.

(Other advanced countries have a registration system that the government runs in which every citizen is automatically registered when they turn voting age and electronic voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail and can be tested against that trail.)


Unknown said...

In my tiny town (3,335 as of 2000) at around 8:30a.m. I voted. There was a small line (3 people in front of me or so) and I was number 347! That's about how many vote all day in a regular race with no major elections taking place!

Now you may wonder how I know what number I was? We have old fashioned crank ballot boxes, swear to you, with the rolling numbers on front like the odometer in an old car. We do really old school with paper ballots and a penciled in X. Honest! It's so cool.

Unknown said...

I was a poll worker. Just about everybody in my precinct was lined up to vote at 6:00 a.m. I think everybody expected such large crowds that they would have to wait for hours to cast a vote. By about 9:30 a.m. the crowd was steady, the line moved briskly. By about 2:00 p.m. and on, the crowd was sparse. Nonetheless, a quick check of registered voters and ballots cast showed that a relatively large percentage of voters showed up. I think they all came at the same time.

Lally said...

Caitlin, You made me wish I could have voted in your town, the old fashioned way! Thanks for sharing that.