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
* 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 vote.
* 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 office.
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
Has anyone else experienced electronic
voting? What is your opinion?
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster