It’s Almost Over

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Next week we will know who our next President is, unless it is another of those count, recount, and no account fiasco’s like we had several years ago in Florida. They say that everyone has quit using the old dimple and chad method that caused so much trouble then.

Now they have newer and better ways to mess up the vote, touch-screen machines with no paper back up. I suppose that’s one way to be sure there is no recount. A few people around these parts claim they touched one candidate on the screen and the X lit up for another. Election officials say it is “finger rolling” also known as “blame the voter.”

Some polls still use the old one-arm bandits where you flip the levers and pull the big red handle to register your vote and open the curtains when you are done. The voting machines at my polling place were small and had buttons to push to light up the X and a big red button to push when you were done.

All machines have the problem of making it hard to vote for a write-in.

I’ve heard of new machines that scan a paper ballot and if there is a problem, you can fix it while you are still there. We don’t have such fancy technology in these parts, so I guess all you can do is vote and hope it is counted.

Apparently, complaints of machines not working right are not widespread and there have not been too many. Voter fraud seems to be a rare event in spite of claims to the contrary. After standing in the long lines, I’d hate to think it was for nothing.

I early voted this year. I’ve seen and heard enough. I know who I am voting for so why wait? I thought I’d save time by early voting, but the line was long. I guess everyone heard that there was going to be a record turnout at the polls and wanted to avoid the rush.

I heard in the news that most of the registered voters have already voted. So, the polls may not be very crowded on Election Day after all. I still remember the last election where I messed up and forgot to vote early and then had to vote on Election Day. I kicked myself the whole time I stood in line for not voting early. Nothing you can do but wait, though, unless you decide not to vote.

It’s pretty amazing really, how people are willing to wait forever if that’s what it takes to cast their ballot. Standing in that line as it snakes back and forth lets you know that you are doing something important, participating in something bigger than you are. It never fails to give you a feeling of pride seeing the democratic process in action.

I am always surprised at how many candidates are on the ballot. Gee, I’ve never heard of any of them except for the two main candidates. Afterwards, Honey and I got into a discussion about third party candidates. He says they are not good because they cannot win and they draw votes away that could cause a good candidate to lose.

I can see the point, but I think third party candidates are still important. Running for President can give a candidate a forum to discuss issues that need to be brought up but might not be discussed otherwise. They also bring issues to the forefront that may later be taken up by the major parties as part of their platform.

So, that’s about all I have to say about voting except that I sure hope the candidate I voted for wins. It’s a bit of a letdown to go to all the trouble of voting only to have your candidate lose. But at least I’ve participated and have earned the right to say “I told you so” if things don’t go the way they should.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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