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How voting ought to be: My 15 minute non-ordeal

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So much has been written about what can and is going wrong with voting that I thought it would be helpful to write about what happens when things go right. 

Here in New York City, my polling place is only three blocks away.  It's in the large ornate lobby of a Tudor-styled apartment building, so there's lots to look at while you're waiting.  However, even though we arrived at 8:30 am, my wait time was so short that I barely had a chance to look at the figurines and motifs.  I barely had time to show my first time voting Indian-born wife the instructional chart before we were up at the registration table. 

It turned out we were registered in a different book, so we had to slide over to the next line.  This confusion didn't cost us any time.  The poll worker filled out both of our registration cards, by hand, and then we went to the next line.  Here, too, we had to switch lines when it became clear we were supposed to go to the middle machine - the one for our district.  This cost us no time either. 

The poll worker - a big Santa Claus of a man - must have noticed my wife's nervousness.  He said, while demonstrating, "Don't worry.  It's real simple.  Just pull the lever to the right, then tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck.  Then, pull the lever back the other way and you're done."  Yes, it was real simple, and Meenakshi was done in a few minutes. 

Then it was my turn.  I tripped up on some of the surrogate judge races - I didn't expect so many to be running in the Democratic party - so I chose one at random.  My bad, I know.  The Presidential selection was much, much, easier.  A quick pull of the lever, then I met Meenakshi outside and we were done. 

Total time: 15 minutes. 

For two people, one of whom had never voted before.  This is instructive.  You see, we had old volunteers and old machines - both of which break down a lot less than the new high-tech computerized machines. 

I hope New York can keep its lever machines.  I've voted with them since I became a New York resident in 1993 and have never had a problem.  It's always been like it was today, even though I went before work like a lot of people.  It's actually kind of fun, especially when you get to introduce your wife to the process. 


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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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