Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Florida Votes - Nothing's Changed

“Can’t you Floridians learn how to vote?” a Northern friend teased when she called me the other day.

She was referring to the fact that our hour’s long wait to vote early had made national news. Since hubby and I had voted that afternoon, I confidently replied, “No.”

There was only one reason for the wait: the length of the ballot. The poll workers were friendly and efficient and doing their best to make lemonade out of a lemon. They even had chairs available for those who could not stand. After our almost two-hour wait, it took another half-hour to “bubble-in” the bubbles on both sides of the five pages – and we had “cheat” sheets on how we wanted to vote for all the amendments, judges, etc. When done with step one, we then had to scan our five answer sheets into the scanner. My poor husband bubbled out of the oval in one spot, so the scanner refused one page of his ballot! His choice was to return to “go” and start the process again or not vote for some of the amendments. At that point, sadly, neither of us cared about the amendments and we left.

I miss the old pushpin ballots. People with minor tremors in their hands didn’t have them rejected because they “bubbled out of the lines.” The “hanging chads” did that method of voting in. I miss the computer touch and vote machines that replaced them. Both systems allowed voters to select their language and not be confused once the actual voting process began. However, orders were given to the powers in charge of elections to come up with a system that had a paper trail. The solution is the present ballot written in three languages. Does it sound confusing? Believe me, it is.

Okay, America, Broward County supposedly now has a foolproof voting system, and according to one poll worker, “It is perfect unless someone misplaces the boxes with the ballots.”

If I were a betting person, I would make a wager that we’ll be up late next Tuesday because people will still be on line in Broward waiting to vote. In fact, I predict we’ll still be voting long after California will close their polls. Hopefully, since I don’t like to be teased about my home state, I won’t win my bet!

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