Thursday, May 29, 2008


This morning I got on my scooter and went to our local elections office, which is two or three blocks away from my home. The elections administrator is a friend of mine, as her family attends my church.

The voting machines we use are from Hart, a small notebook-like gizmo about the size of a legal-sized pad. The voter controls his answers by way of a disk he spins with a finger. I had voted several times this way, and once had been an election clerk with these machines. I asked her how this kind of setup would handle a write-in.

She said that write-in candidates would be posted on a card in every voting booth, and the system would bring up either an alphabet or a "QUERTY" (I don't know which) on the screen where the name could be could be spelled out using the disk.

As for spelling, she said that she would give the voter "the benefit of the doubt"; however I suspect that many counties would not be as understanding, so we need to remember "Alan has one "L" and an "A", and Keyes has two "E's".

She told me that they had run write-in elections on a local basis before--one of the write-in candidates had actually won.

We talked somewhat at length about the Hart machines being "hacker proof". She was a bit miffed that people were always wanting to go back to paper ballots when the paper ones were a lot easier to cheat on than the new machines.

While I was there I signed by oath to be a deputy registrar until the end of December. I decided that it would be better for my retirement community, as many might forget to mail it in.