ecbrenner, except for the optical scanner machine that reads the ballots, your method is exactly the same as mine. So I don't think it's all that outdated. :)
Also, I think most polling places use a certain kind of black marker rather than #2 pencils nowadays. But I remember back in elementary school the teacher coming around to look at each of our pencils before a standardized test (one of the hundreds).
OK, we must be the most outdated... We use black markers to fill in circles, just like those tests we took in school with the #2 pencils. Then the form goes into the ballot box, which tracks the number of ballots for all to see. (I was # 597 in my precinct today.)
Come to the NT frin, there are typically only about 6 Senate candidates :-) But I remember voting in Melbourne and, yeah, getting up into the 40's below the line. You're right about those obnoxious little parties ... the Blind Weightlifters Against Having Fun Alliance and all that. From where do they suddenly spring come election time?
But bilby, don't you just love standing there in a flimsy cardboard booth with a blunt pencil filling in every last box below the line on the senate voting form with a number and then double-checking to make sure you haven't used a number twice or something, just to ensure that the most obnoxious of those little parties are right down the bottom of the count? (Yeah, I need to get a life.)
Meanwhile I think fondly of the Australian ballot, the benefits of which our friends across the Pacific have been enjoying today.
I don't really get it. We can design technology that can record a video through a handheld phone and send it instantaneously of the world, for example, and other wondrous things, yet we can't design a tamper-proof machine to record a 1-2-3 ballot? If you fancy luddite, chomp on this choice offering from the Australian Electoral Commission:
"The introduction of internet or computerised voting is not a feasible proposition at this time, as a number of security, technical, financial, access and equity issues have to be solved before it could become a fact of electoral life.
There is no appropriate software technology for use in a full preferential voting system. Many voters, especially the elderly and those with poor literacy and numeracy skills may have difficulty with using ... " BLAH BLAH BLAH, it goes on and on, excuse after excuse tripping down the page.
That to me suggests there is no serious will or attempt to move us on from the Middle Ages. And as much as I like horses wearing balaclavas ...
There were a couple people in Chesapeake VA who had drops of water from rain on their ballots. They waited for the papers to dry, the machines counted them, and all was well. At least from the reports I've seen. That to me is not a significant voter issue. (It's a significant common sense issue though-- "don't put wet paper into a machine." Would you do that to a copier or printer? Sheesh.)
I have, however, voted on those mechanical lever machines, and it is definitely a most satisfying clunk. :) Aaaah.
reesetee- I like what you (jokingly?) said about the way the old lever machines FELT. Actually, here (Philadelphia) we had gentle push buttons, and I longed for something more substantial, something that felt like "Ok, that was it. Wow". A creaking or banging would have helped.
Hard to say. My area uses the pushbutton direct recording type. They make me feel a little edgy, in part because they look like they come out of enormous suitcases. Then again, the old lever machines felt good and hefty, but still....