O/T: Lament for the old time voting booths.

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As most who visit this newsgroup are tool users, I ask for a sympathetic reading. Just a minor soap box rant for the old days.
My local municipality has just plain junk voting equipment; plastic, plastic, and cheap. No class, no flair, no nothing. As much as I rail against the Style .VS. Substance cultural wars, there is something to be said for marketing flair and elaborated protocol when it comes to civic duty.
I am old enough to remember the mechanical lever voting booths. The voter steps-up and enters the solid metal machine booth and forcefully pushes the hand lever over. The force about equal to a holding bag of flour as I recall, not a lot but it did take an effort. The curtain closed with a mechanical thump; the sound of the thump resounding in the mental awareness of the importance of what about to happen, voting.
The levers are arrayed before your eyes. There is no mistake here about who or what you are voting, the physical movement of any of the levers is clear, concise, and physically rewarded; you can see the lever move, you can feel the lever move, and you hear the soft subtle click. Feedback to the voter is visually, tactile, and audibly apparent; all three senses re- enforcing the selected choice to be correct.
And when voting selection is completed, the large red handled lever is now pulled; the noise of the small voting choice levers now turn the mechanically linked tabulation cylinders with a sound more akin to the clanking of an iron bar door. The sound of finality, no undo, or erasure of choice for all of eternity. The voting booth curtain now opens with a swish and a small bell rings as fresh light from the room re-illuminates the voter. An all too minor shift in air brings the sense of smell to aid the visual shift of light and sound to concluded the experience to a (mostly) joyous resolution; the citizen has fulfilled his(her) duty (and obligation to) others who in the past have sacrificed to make it possible.
Oh, about these new touch screen monitors and small plastic dividers, you know I have played computer games on such things. Not while standing up, mind you. Don't quite get the same sensory feedback with all that plastic. Not quite the same. No feedback to the physical senses that my vote was counted, just toy plastic junk for my vote.
Ok, I will stop pounding the porch with my cane. Time for my nap anyway. Thanks for reading.
Phil
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-snip-

Y'mean like these;
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/voting-machine.jpg
I'll be voting on one tomorrow for the last time. We in NY are fortunate enough to have contentious enough debates over such things that we haven't gotten around to complying with the federal mandate to replace these old reliable machines with something that doesn't leave a paper trail, can be hacked by either party or just some ne'er-do-well, and will break every election day. [that sentence is a bit long- but I diagrammed it in my head and I think it works]

And it leaves a paper trail to confirm or disprove allegations of foul play.

If you lived in NY & fell in love easily you could have voted on one and only be 20.<g>
Jim
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Phil Again wrote:

Ah, the old Shoup Voting Machine. It went the way of the paper ballot in that elections are just too complicated to be accommodated by the capabilities.
In my county, there must be 1500 people running for this and that - everything from President down to Judge Court of Domestic Relations #27. We've got 8 Justice of the Peace precincts, 5 congressional districts, 7 state house and 3 senate districts. 20-odd city governments with all their council seats, sheriff, 8 constables, god-knows-how-many judgeships, municipal utility districts, blah-blah-blah. All with overlapping boundaries. In all, there are probably 500 DIFFERENT ballots for my county alone.
When I was going to college, we used Shoup voting machines for a student election (the county was glad to furnish them under the rubric of 'education'). Turns out, the machine couldn't handle one permutation. The college rules stated that the top four candidates won the office for the Student Senate and each student could vote for two. This combination was impossible for the Shoup.
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HeyBub wrote:

In New York we still have the old mechanical monsters with levers and the huge lever that reminds me of an antique car hand brake lever.
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wrote:

I don't think so... Check again!
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

-snip-
I just voted. . . On the same lever machine that I've been using since 1976 & the state has been using since God-knows-when.
For once I'm proud of our contentious politics that kept the debate alive long enough to save us a bundle on electronic machines that would already need replacing.
Jim
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Steve Stone wrote:

God, you must live in the darkest part of New York.
That huge lever you describe is for situations where there is no electricity !
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Right, Here is CT we got rid of those old machines a year ago. We're a progressive community.
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wrote in message

About 3 people live in CT. NYS has many more people. It costs a lot to change a lot of machines. The state is almost bankrupt. hmmmm, maybe it is.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Sometimes progress isn't a good thing. There should be no doubt as to the accuracy of a voting machine. Since none of the manufacturers of the Fisher Price electronic machines allow peer review of the software we just don't know and can never trust them and since there is no paper trail there is no actual way to do a recount or check. We had those big manual machines until the last elections. In my state the county buys the machines choosing from the list approved by the state. My county has now purchased its second set of the toy machines because the first set were found to be so badly designed that no one would ever approve them for use even under the very loose requirements. The next county over is on their third set of machines. The first two they bought were also duds.
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wrote:

Connecticut got it exasctly right by choosing the optical scanner/paper ballot route. Using touch screens for this application are simply absurd. Especially in Flu season!
I personally miss one thing about the old machines. I used to feel I was really doing something when I pulled that big lever over hard, and it went "clunk". Puuting a sheet of paper into a silent scanner isn't very demonstrative.
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wrote:

I still get flashbacks to the tests of all my multi-thousand-person 100 level classes in college when I use the scanners to vote.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Agree, scanner w/paper ballot is a great solution. You have a paper trail and you have an easy way to tally the count.

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wrote:

Yes, and I just voted on one with GREAT satisfaction shortly after 6 am EST today.
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Phil Again wrote:

So your objection is about style and not accuracy? My objection to the Microsoft OS based voting machines is that there is a high probability of incorrect vote tallies because the software is complex and the voting machine vendors will not release the software for peer review even with a NDA so the voters can't be assured of the accuracy of the machine. Also there is sloppy handling and tracking about what software happens to be running on the machines. And since there is no paper trail there is no methodology for a recount.
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??? I'm in upstate NY, and that's what we have now. I never could understand the kerfuffle in FL with the hanging chads until someone explained that most places don't have mechanical booths. Of course not. It's much easier to screw with ballots and screens than mechanical booths when you're trying to rig an election.
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wrote:

I'm not too worried about it. I plan to vote twice today. I'm registered in two districts. The first time I'll vote for Obama, the second time I'll vote for McCain. That way they both get my support.
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We still have the mechanical lever voting booth in NYS. It works like a charm. No problems here.
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On Mon, 03 Nov 2008 05:42:07 -0600, Phil Again

They are a maintenance nightmare according to the guys on TV. I suppose in a union town that is a plus. You still have no paper trail and you just have to trust the machine.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in wrote:

On the local NY news the other day, they talk about how they keep the voting machines in top shape. They didn't say it was a nightmare. It just takes time to deliver the machines. If a machine breaks down there are people in the area who are on call to fix them.
On another note, we don't have long voting lines as they're showing in other states. Perhaps since we have many districts here, not so many people are trying to jam into one place to vote. On voting day, the hours are from 6am to 9pm. Maybe that helps,too. We don't have early voting that is easy to perform. You better have a damn good reason for early voting or they tell you NO.
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