Why People Don’t Vote

I voted this week. I decided to do so when there were only about 20 people waiting in the line outside when I arrived (all conveniently socially distanced, of course). Through the windows, I could see that there were about 20 voting machines inside, but only about 6 of them were in use. As I got closer, a man offered for me to pick a (presumably, but questionably, clean) stylus from a box of styluses (to use on the voting machine), and I chose one. They looked more like a box of kid’s crayons, and about as sterile.

After about 20 minutes, it was my turn to vote (I thought). As directed, I stepped up to one of the six check-in stations and presented my voter’s registration card and my driver license. After about ten minutes of entering data on her computer and repeatedly waiting, the lady asked me to digitally sign the screen with my finger. I did, and she asked me to “select” a ballot and hand it to her. After another minute or so, she gave me the ballot, and returned my voter registration ID and my driver license. With that handful of stuff, plus my wallet, plus my stylus, I chose a voting machine, with no place to lay anything down. It probably took me about two minutes to vote, and I entered my ballot into the counting machine, and then I left.

Problem number one: I was there about 35 minutes, and over 30 minutes of it was spent just waiting (while standing, which is harder for senior citizens like myself). Although they had plenty of machines, it took the check-in lady so long to do whatever she did that the utilization of the machines was only about 30% at any point in time. What on earth was that lady doing, and waiting on? Why can’t I just walk up to a scanner (like at Walmart); scan my voter’s registration ID and my driver license; and, just vote? It should have taken about three minutes altogether, but instead it took over ten times that long: for me and everybody else (with 70% of the voting machines pleading, “Would someone come and vote on me?”). Why can’t the government step up to the kind of technology that Walmart had ten years ago? In fact, I could have saved over an hour of time if I could just vote from home (on a secure website).

Problem number two: So, they social distanced, and they may have even had clean styluses. Still, I had to sign a filthy (possibly COVID-infected) screen with my finger, with no offers of hand sanitizer, either after I signed, or after I voted.

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