Yesterday (Friday), Melanie and
I cast our ballots in early voting in order to avoid
the lines on Tuesday. Our polling place in Winston-Salem,
NC, happened to use electronic voting machines.
Here are my observations.
* The screens were
large and easy to read, and all of my selections
were accurately recorded.
* The privacy factor was nearly zero since the
viewing angle of the screens is very wide, and the
machines were not located in booths with curtains
surrounding them. Everything was wide open for everyone
to see. I can imagine in areas where there is a
heavy bias for one political party over the other
that someone might feel extremely intimidated in
that environment. It is no exaggeration when I say
that it was the equivalent to standing in front
of a 19" LCD computer monitor trying to play Solitaire
while using your body to block the screen so no
on can see what you're doing.
* As you confirmed each selection, a paper tape
similar to a grocery receipt scrolls beneath a glass
window so that you can see a paper record of the
* There were some offices where I did not choose
to vote for anyone, so I did not select any candidates,
then continued to the next screen. At the end, after
indicating that I was done voting, a confusing screen
appeared informing me that I had not made selections
for every office. It offered to take me back to
the screen to make a selection, or to continue.
When I selected Continue, it gave me the warning
screen again. This time I noticed at the bottom
there was yet another option to continue as-is and
finalize the ballot. I was ready to go get the poll
worker to find out why I was being required to cast
a vote that I did not care to cast, until I saw
the option to finalize without voting for a particular
Overall, I was not at all impressed with the
implementation, particularly the total lack of privacy
that is expected in our culture. Amazingly, when
writing this I discovered through scannig the U.S.
Constitution that it does not explicitly gurantee
the right to privacy when voting. Many state constitutions
do gurantee such a right, however.
did not appreciate the "Made in Venezuela by friends
of Hugo Chavez" sticker on the side of the machine.
Has anyone else experienced electronic voting?
What is your opinion?
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster