Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
I voted today. I played my part in the democratic (small d) process of our republican (small r) government.
But the thrill is gone. Instead of the old voting machines, I voted with an optical scanner, which is as exciting as filling in the true-false blanks on the SAT.
"Just like school," my wife said upon getting her form.
Let me issue a caveat: I am, more or less, a neo-Luddite who chooses, whenever possible, to sidle away from technological innovation the way my dog Stella sidles away from the sound of anything frying on the stove. Thomas, the doubter, is my favorite apostle, and "Trust But Verify" my favorite Cold War catchphrase.
And, since 1972 -- the first year I could vote -- I have voted on the now lost, outdated voting machines -- 35 years of voting. It is not just that I know no other way. I liked that way. My only wish is that Connecticut institutes open primaries for both parties so I could vote more often.
I liked the big solid metal machines. There was some weight, some solidity there. It gave you a sense of tradition. If they were good enough for Richard Daley and John Bailey, they were good enough for me.
I liked the "ca-Ching!" noise of the lever when you first entered the voting booth and closed the curtain behind you -- sort of the same noise you heard from old-fashioned, one-armed bandit slot machines. It added some spice to the proceedings: voting as a gamble. ...
Go to the link for the rest. He's talking about the descendants of the Gillespie Standard Voting Machine. Monica Potts and Lisa Chamoff at The Advocate (Stamford) have more:
Some voters said filling out paper ballots felt like a return to the past. Others said having to feed the ballots into optical scanners compromised privacy. Still others missed the old lever-and-curtain voting machines.
But vote they did yesterday, Connecticut's first Election Day using optical scanners instead of levers, a move designed to improve the accuracy of ballot tabulation. Few problems were reported statewide.
Filling in the ovals on paper ballots felt like a throwback to another era, some voters said, though they differed on whether that was a good thing. ...
Hat tip to Instapundit, who calls it "a triumph for appropriate technology," and I agree.
Paradoxically, this is a move toward both higher and lower tech: electronic optical scanners are replacing the obsolete (and no longer manufactured) mechanical voting machines, enabling the votes to be counted more quickly and effeciently. On the other hand, voters are now physically handling and marking their own paper ballots, which are retained in case of a disputed outcome. So while I am sad to see my native Connecticut finally scrapping its luxurious "Wizard of Oz" voting machines, I think this is a step in the right direction and the best of both worlds tehcnologically speaking.
And if it makes voting a little less dicey ... well, that's a good thing.