Tuesday February 5, 2008

Voting Day

It's Voting Day in California. The People in Charge in our precinct certainly went out of their way to make this difficult and frustrating.

First off, they moved the polling place from our usual location. We arrived to find a sign on the door that said "Your Polling Place Has Moved!" There was no indication of where it had moved to. It only said "Check your sample ballot for the new location."

We hadn't brought the sample ballot with us so we went back to the house. Once home, we located the sample ballot, leafed through it, no polling place listed. What was listed was a URL. A complex URL (http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_ppl.htm) which we dutifully typed in. That got us a list of counties.

Scroll. Scroll. Click.

That's a busy page... Hmmm. My Ballot and Polling Place. Looks promising. Enter your street address and Zip code. #&*$(@!

OK. It's at an elementary school I've never seen. But the address is clickable and brings up a map. So we get in the car.

Once at the polling place, the real fun begins. Do we know our precinct number? No. (Why would we know this?). We know our street address. The helpful volunteers don't have a lookup sheet so they recommend we walk around and ask at the other tables.

But wait! There were sheets with addresses and names hanging outside by the entrance. I saw our street on one of those. Back outside I go and find my precinct number. (Why are the sheets with names and addresses of voters taped to the wall outside the polling place? We've always been disconcerted that no one asks for ID but this seems to be going a little far.)

Back inside. Find the proper table. Tell them my name. Sign the book. (In pencil. I've always wondered, why pencil?). Then I'm given an "access code". Oooh. We're voting electronically this time.

Over to the voting machine. It's... unusual. Looks like a toy. The nearest ATM is more advanced than this.

OK. Enter the access code... Turn the scroll wheel to select a number, then push Enter. It's a little like dialing a telephone... only clumsier.

Now I'm "in". Read the instructions. Do this, Do that, press "Enter", OK. Now what? No instructions for how to get away from the Instructions. Enter doesn't work here. Perhaps "Next". That worked.

Now I get to vote. Use the scroll wheel to select a line. Press Enter to mark the box in red. Scroll. Press. Enter. Next.

Now it's time to ACCEPT my choices. Sure. Oooh. Look. It's printing. The output is under glass, but... Now what? Oh. Press "Cast Your Ballot". I thought I just did that. Oh well, do it again.

Wh...i..rr...r.. (This thing is pretty slow.) Ballot Accepted.

Wow. 1980's technology! So "modern" (not). Please tell me this is a prototype. :-(

People who work with technology for a living shouldn't have to be subjected to someone else's bad design. It hurts.

OK. I voted.. We now return you to your regular life... at least until the presidential race heats up. Sigh.

Voting Day ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 05 Feb, 08:37 Pacific | «e»

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