Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In Praise of Debra Bowen

Bowen is the Secretary of State for California and runs the elections process. In 2006 and 2007, she made people very upset by decertifying all sorts of voting machines and insisting on better ones. Today, I got to experience what a better voting machine is like, and I'm in awe.

As usual in CA, the primary election today was a seven page ballot that, even to a politico like me, was full of crap. Specifically, page after page of mostly uncontested judicial elections. The good stuff was on page one and page seven. I showed up primarily to vote against Prop 88 and against Bernard Parks for supervisor. Anyhoo, when I submitted my ballot, they told me to place it directly in a machine slot. I did so. The machine beeped and rejected my ballot, displayed a red light. I joked that I must have voted for the wrong people. As I was joking, a paper receipt printed out saying "overvote." Turns out I had voted for both judges in one of the few contested elections. So they voided the ballot and gave me a new one. I then went back and fixed it. Judge Ralph Dau, be happy for the extra vote you otherwise would have lost. When I submitted the new ballot, it put up a green light. All good.

If they had had such machines in Florida in 2000, Gore would have been president and tens of thousands of people would still be alive in Iraq, including thousands of American soldiers. America would be a much safer place, and more prosperous to boot. I'm very pleased to know that we can do better.

Hooray for Secretary Bowen!


Dr. Strangelove said...

LTG is one of the most conscientious voters I have ever known. If even he can make an accidental error on a ballot, it makes me wonder how many times I must have done so without realizing it! Yikes. I too, am pleased with the new machines.

Raised By Republicans said...

Yes, and he never ever votes for the wrong people. ;-)

Dr. Strangelove said...

Of course not. His vote for McCain in 2000 was surely just a slip of the pen :-)

USwest said...

Actually, I work elecitons and screw up. I finally took the time to read the instrucitons on CA's ballots. Bascially, you have a thick, black line to the right each name. There is a break in the line. To vote for someone, you must connect the line. Well, when I connect the line, I make it thick to "fill" it in. You are simply supposed to draw a single line, not fill it in, which to me is counterintuituve. I am not alone! I've seen numerous voters do this. So, I've done every ballot but for the last one, wrong. Confusing.Don't they do usability studies on these? I mean when we launch an on-line test delivery system, we put people in front of the machine and watch what they do. Don't they do that with ballots? Guess not.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Our system is a variant of the "inkavote" where you press down and put an ink dot on the number after lining up the ballot so that the numbers appear in little circles next to the candidates' names. Or so it is suppposed to be. On mine, they lined up poorly so that I had to be very, very careful.

Btw, my vote for McCain in 2000 (March) was a protest vote against Al Gore. Why, you say? Because I re-registered from Dem to Green, then voted for McCain. That way, the McCain vote would be irrelevant (the GOP had chosen not to count non-GOP votes, even though state law allowed me to do so). There was nobody else on the ballot I wished to vote for. By the time of the Dem convention in August, I was a Gore supporter. That's what happens - voters get over themselves and start acting rationally, eventually. And McCain has definitely changed also. Like Lieberman, 9/11 changed McCain. In short, they went nuts.

History Buff said...

I voted for Nader in 2000, of course I was in Texas, so who cares. But I was hoping the Green Party would get 5% of the vote so they could participate in the debates.

In my county we have the hackable computer voting machines with no paper trail. But they are pretty easy to use.