57. Safe Voting is No Accident

“A man that’d expict to thrain lobsters to fly in a year is called a loonytic; but a man that thinks men can be tur-rned into angels by an iliction is called a rayformer an’ remains at large.”  Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy, 1900

Today, son Matt, daughter Judy and I sat down together to do our civic “dooty” and vote.

In Washington state, we use mail-in ballots (for both males and females).  That’s a big improvement in convenience, but not enough!

I was never fond of trudging out in the rain (with Matt tooling along in his power wheelchair) to get to the nearby school where we used to vote.   The worst thing about it was not having a way to pretend like I know what I’m doing. As a voting citizen, I’m often a wee bit uninformed on current candidates and issues. All of my voting life, I’ve counted on my husband Gene, or on Matt, to give me the big skinny at voting time.

That strategy is difficult to invoke when you have to vote in person.  I mean, you can’t just duck out of the voting booth and tiptoe to the one next door to ask your husband how he’s voting on something.  It wasn’t just the strain on my dignity – the people that manned the voting tables used to get apoplectic!  Once you get behind the curtain, you’re supposed to stay there till your vote is cast!  And while they were always happy I brought my Voters’ Pamphlet with me, they weren’t expecting me to be in there studying it for 15 minutes while other voters were queued up waiting. Sometimes when I’d emerge from the booth, they glared at me like they wanted to confiscate my voter’s card.

So quite a few years ago, we converted to absentee ballots.  That was good but it’s not nice when the election returns are announced and we know our votes haven’t even been counted yet.

The mail-in ballots are also good (even for other sexes). Using them, we are able to peacefully go through the ceremony of marking our ballots at home with me getting remedial political advice in private.

But a future change in the voting process is way up high on my wish list. My 20 years as a systems analyst didn’t teach me anything about politics, but it exposed me to good methods of wrangling data efficiently, accurately, and economically.  And the way we currently process our votes –  ain’t it.

Maybe, soon, we’ll have an option of doing the deed electronically with a fingerprint, eye scan, or facial recognition scan.  The technology is here today.  Matt’s iPad is technically ready to receive and upload a scan of his thumb or fingerprint. The economy of accepting and calculating his votes instantly is breathtaking.  Besides that, election results would be available in real-time, and we wouldn’t have to worry as much about fraud, illegal votes, duplicate votes, hanging “chads”, miscounts, and all the other quaint artifacts of our current medieval voting procedures.

Actually, I would be first in line if I could sign up to make my credit card buys the same way.  Maybe identify theft could be forced from our modern day stresses. (And so on, and so on, she crusaded, struggling not to sound like a “rayformer”.)

For today’s inspiration, I’ll leave you with this little reminder by Ed Helms who plays Andy on The Office.  (Note to the children: Rated PG.  Unless a parent is present, leave the room. Now.)

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One Response to 57. Safe Voting is No Accident

  1. Linda Lewis says:

    I so totally agree: it’s not nice when the election returns are announced and we know our votes haven’t even been counted yet.
    Pat, you amaze me on where you get all your video clips. You are the queen…in our democracy.
    (I decided today to work more, at least one more, on my NY resolution to catch up on blogs. Since I did not comment on several, I reread several. It’s amazing how many details I had forgotten and loved rereading several of your blogs.)

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