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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Beldar's ballot

Another thing cheered me up tonight.  Before going to see my daughter's play, I stopped by an early voting location and cast my ballot for the November 2nd election.

I'm glad I allowed plenty of time, because even around 6:00 pm on a Saturday night after a brief rainstorm, there was a fifteen minute line.  The early voting location was fully staffed — same computerized voting system we've been using for a while now in Harris County, and there were no glitches with either the equipment or the staff, there were just lots of people out voting!

I saw nothing remotely resembling any intimidation from either major party or supporters of any candidate.  I saw voters of all ages, races, and apparent social classes — Houston's an incredibly diverse city, and you could see it at this polling place. 

Texas isn't on anyone's list of swing states, of course, and there weren't even that many contested down-ballot races, nor any real blockbuster ballot propositions or amendments.  I think the folks who were there were mostly there to send a message — whether that message be pro- or anti-Dubya, pro- or anti-Kerry — about the top of the ticket, even from a state whose electoral votes are as close to "in the bag" as either candidate can count upon.  This is a good thing — and I'll continue to believe it's a good thing even if my preferred candidate loses.

Dubya has my vote, and I feel good about that.

Posted by Beldar at 11:15 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Beldar's ballot and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Tom Bazan made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 10:41:52 AM | Permalink

Many are not aware that, even if one voted Straight Ticket Democratic, Libertarian, or Republican in the 18th CD, the voter still has a choice to cast their vote for Bazan to replace SJL.

(2) DRJ made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 4:03:59 PM | Permalink

I live in a conservative Texas town. In theory, there is very little reason for us to vote, and yet so far turnout has been enormous. There are lines to vote all day, sometimes extending outside and around the building. I've read similar reports from Dallas and I suspect it's true in many Texas towns. Do you know if this is happening in other states (other than in the battleground states)?

(3) TY GONSALVES made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 6:18:33 PM | Permalink

With all due respect,do you really think the dems are going to waste their bullies in Texas

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 6:24:53 PM | Permalink

Fair point, Ty. Texas will export lawyers and "poll watchers" from both parties this year; I know some from both sides. Whether it also exports bullies, I dunno, but it wouldn't terribly surprise me.

(5) Lee Shore made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 8:21:46 PM | Permalink

In Texas it might not be a problem, what with electronic voting, but in other states WHO has custody of physical "early ballots" until they are counted on Nov. 2?

Ordinary, old-fashioned, Election Day voting was never problem-free, of course, but to have paper ballots sitting somewhere for nearly two weeks seems to me to be asking -- nay, begging -- for fraud.

And, BTW, watch for recount problems on electronic voting machines that don't create a paper trail.


(6) David Blue made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 11:14:57 PM | Permalink

Voting, when it's done right, the way you experienced it this time, is a wonderful thing.

I also think the higher the turnout the better, as long as it consists only of real, qualified voters.

In this election it's extra-important, because of the war, and because of the domestic crisis that is part of the war. The American president 2005-2008 is going to need as much legitimacy as the voters can give him. A high-turnout election, where the voters clearly attended in force to have their say on the critical issue, will strengthen the American president's hand domestically, and I even think a little bit in public diplomacy.

All this is true regardless of whether the legitimate extra votes are cast in safe states or in battleground states. On this level, all legitimate voters contribute equally, and should rejoice equally.

(7) Merry Whitney made the following comment | Oct 25, 2004 12:36:38 AM | Permalink

I'm volunteering as a poll worker in Lee County, Florida and went to an initial 2-hour orientation last week, have to take an additional 4-hour class Tuesday. The electronic voting (phonetic, "Avitronix") is not a computer, and the "paper trail" is essentially a tape, like an adding machine tape. The 'Avitronix' has to be cleared before and after each new voter by insertion of some kind of disk, to clear (previous) and count each ballot cast. As I understand it so far, at night's end the tape spits out voting sequence and total votes for each candidate and ballot initiative or amendment. While that is not exactly a "paper trail," it does allow a method to easily determine that the number of voters using the thing is the same as the number that voted, and less easily but not impossible -- so long as the clerk maintains the sequential order of voters signed in and sent to each machine -- to determine whether any given ballot failed to register (as in, "the voter forgot to push the send button"). This would not reveal which candidates were voted for, just which offices, so undercounts (someone voting for a senate and house race, for instance, but not the presidential) could be tracked if necessary.

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