Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vote! (If you can)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM

Early voting began across the state today, and the new voting machines in Williamson County have the makings of a disaster. Voting takes place in something that looks like a kiosk (with very little privacy), with multi-colored screens and multiple-screen ballots, all linked by computer commands. It's all very intimidating. After you've finished your selections and clicked VOTE, moreover, yet another screen appears and asks that you hit CONFIRM if you're satisfied. If you don't get that far, your vote doesn't register.

This is high-tech stuff, and I wonder how the elderly or computer illiterate people along Natchez Street or over in Hard Bargain are going to deal with it—probably Democrats in the main. I am a man of middling intelligence, and I had to have it explained to me at quite some length.

The new machines have only been used once, in the lightly attended August election, and the Williamson County Election Commission denies having had any problems (which seems hardly credible). At the very least, however, the November election may involve some major lines and a lot of head scratching.

The same machines are being used in Davidson County.

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