Saturday, October 25, 2008


I voted today.

Here in North Carolina we have early voting. No excuse absentee voting, they call it. You can even register and vote the same day. It's the most liberal voting policy I've heard of, which is really strange when you consider that this is a pretty politically conservative state.

The NC legislature mandated that we have a paper trail for our voting machines, too. So as I voted I could look through a small glass partition and verify that my vote was being printed precisely as I was indicating it should be on the touch screen. This was a nice touch, too. In the past, I wondered whether my votes were actually being counted. Now I don't worry about that. The votes are printed and collected on spools within the voting machine. Not even the old style punch cards could allow you to actually see your vote being cast correctly.

For the past week of early voting the lines have been amazingly long. Every day I would stop by the library closest to my route and check to see what the wait was like. I only have 30 minutes for lunch, and the waits were always in excess of an hour. But today, even though the line was very long, the wait was only fifteen minutes. So I took the opportunity to vote on my lunch break. It was nice to be able to exercise my right to vote this way without having to agonize over what I know will be very long lines on November 4th.

At any rate, it was great to be able to vote early. It would be nice if every state allowed for this.

Voting is a right, not a privilege.


Mark Martin said...

It would also be nice - for those who have a ballot - if you could pick up the ballot earlier in the week, at various locations around town, and just submit the already-filled-out ballot when you vote. It has always seemed silly to me to have to walk over to the little booth and fill in all the little dots on the spot - after waiting for everyone else to do it.

HemlockMan said...

Frankly, I think the best method of voting is a paper ballot that you hold in your hand. Yes. From what I understand, this is the way it's still done in Japan. (I'm not sure, but it's what I've read.)

The old style absentee ballots are pretty much what you're talking about. You can still do those in most states, I think. But you have to file a valid excuse for requesting one. That's why they call the early voting here in NC "no excuse absentee voting". They don't ask for any kind of excuse.

I reckon there are questions that would arise with folk walking around with ballots which they may or may not have filled out.

But by and large, the voting rules at work here in NC are pretty good these days. I was really impressed.