Paper Ballots Save Time
Steven Taylor notes that, Barack Obama notwithstanding, change isn’t always a good thing. He breezed through the lines in Montgomery, Alabama.
Speaking of optical scan ballots—thank goodness for them, or we would have likely had to wait for hours. Had we had to use voting machines (as we did in 2004), there would have been long lines, given that only one voter per machine could vote at a given time. With the optical scan ballots I noted between 40 and 50 people voting at a given moment with about another 10 in line to deposit their ballots into the machine. One of the factors that seems to have been ignored in the rush to get The Latest TechnologyTM to the polling places (i.e., touch screens) is that a limited number of access points to vote causes long lines. The only bottlenecks for a polling locale with optical scans ballots are 1) when one checks in, and 2) when one deposits one’s vote.
My Northern Virginia precinct used electronic touch screen machines and the reports I’ve had are that the lines were inordinately long this morning. I breezed through three weeks ago but even then having only two machines available created an unnecessary wait.
Paper ballots are cheap, easy to understand, fast, and keep a permanent record. Electronic machines are expensive, confusing, cause bottlenecks, and have no paper trail. Why the move from the former to the latter?