By which invocation of the ethos of my former home, I do not mean to invite voter fraud. Nothing of the sort. Merely some good advice: get to the polls early, when lines are shortest, and vote every time you have the opportunity.
As it turns out, I was the first person to cast a ballot at my polling place today. There was a guy waiting ahead of me when I arrived, but I somewhat stupidly breezed past him and formed a line; the good news is that the manners of the poll workers were better than mine, and they asked him to go ahead of me. However, he’d requested an absentee ballot that he hadn’t returned, and so had to be given a provisional ballot, and the poll workers could not find the provisional ballots. After about five minutes of searching, as the line behind me grew, they finally waved me on around and gave me my ballot. (While I was voting, they seemed to solve the provisional ballot crisis; it appears, though I cannot swear to this, that provisional voters are given regular ballots here, which are then placed in provisional envelopes instead of the usual grey ballot sleeves. They were in the process of giving him his ballot as I left.)
We’re now using the InkaVote system here in L.A. County, a system which is mechanically identical to the old punch-card system we’d previously used, but, as you might guess, inks the bubbles on the ballot rather than punching them. The system is pretty simple; if you’ve ever voted in L.A. County before, using the old system, there won’t be any surprises. I’m curious about the accuracy of the counting machines that read these ballots — though they’re undoubtedly similar to the machines that read the Scantron sheets used for bajillions of college exams (not to mention all the other variants of educational testing), and it has never once occurred to me to question the accuracy of those machines. So maybe we’re fine. Maybe I’m just paranoid. If ever there were a season for paranoia, however, this would be it.
So, I voted. And the provisional ballot guy voted. And the line of folks behind me voted.
I wish you luck with your own ballot-casting today — and wish us all luck, that we might have a speedy, and just, outcome.