The piece from the New York Times is titled “Problems Reported With New Voting Machines,” and describes various degrees of “chaos,” “bedlam,” “frustration,” “screaming” and, most of all, failure.
Today is primary day, and I too voted, and saw the new system in practice. Primary day is usually pretty slow, and I voted at an off-peak hour, in the late morning. Nevertheless, it took me so long to be put through the multi-step process by the poll workers that I envisioned disaster coming for the November election. I guess in many places that disaster already arrived, with the notion of “disenfranchisement” being bandied about, due to polling stations where machines either didn’t work and/or voters and poll-workers got into furious conflicts over how to proceed.
In theory, it shouldn’t be hard to just have voters color-in circles on a ballot and stick it into a scanner. But with the government running the show, the simplest things can obviously be counted upon to blow up in everyone’s face. (Pause to invoke “ObamaCare.” Reflect for one moment. Invocation completed.)
I had a great affection for the clanky old voting machines I’ve always used in New York up until now – the venerable old mechanical lever machines. When you pulled the big handle back, flipped all those levers and then pushed the big handle forward again, you’d succeeded at least in making plenty of noise and it seemed fair to hope that your votes had truly been registered somewhere.
Today, when I put my ballot into the scanner, the computer contemplated it for several long seconds and then the screen told me, “Your vote has been accepted,” or something like that. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but there was hardly anything else I could do. I momentarily thought that it would be better if the screen displayed the actual votes it had picked up from my ballot, so that I knew it was correct. But, of-course, I quickly recollected myself; human beings being what they are, such an additional “confirmation” step would only pile apocalypse upon bedlam, as untold numbers of voters would swear that the machine had got it wrong somehow, that they didn’t mean to vote that way on one line or another. No — better for everyone to just trust that little screen, and never know for sure whether our votes have been accurately registered and counted or merely launched into digital oblivion. Keeping the peace must be the highest goal in all such endeavors involving the great unruly masses of the general public, right? Not that that goal was achieved, even on this, a relatively sleepy primary election day in New York City.
It’s amazing how far we’ve come.