Voting in America

When I voted this week I was struck by how “old tech” the process was. It was even lower tech than when I was a small kid! It’s that bad.

When I was in elementary school, our teacher brought us to the auditorium where two voting booths were set up for the election that was to take place the following day. Each was a big imposing booth, made of metal and build to last. There were were luxurious drapes that surrounded the voter. A sketch of one of these things is here.

Inside the booth, there were rows of precision metal levers, each with cute handles, that you used to vote. To vote for someone, you flipped the lever for him [sorry, it was “him” then] to the down position. This made a decisive click that would please Windows Surface lovers even today.

Our teacher let us stand in a voting booth for a few seconds and operate one lever. I wished I was old enough to vote!

This week we didn’t have any cool voting booths. The good thing was that turnout was excellent. I waited in line and the first thing I had to to was to give my name to a retired guy. He looked me up on a big paper list that was printed on a line printer (computer paper, low resolution, all caps). Then I signed in (pen and paper) and he crossed my name off the big list. Then I was told which line to get in for the actual voting.

We had “booths” of a sort. They were cheap, flimsy tables. There was no machine, no levers, no drapes. To vote, I was given a piece of paper and a pen. My task was to fill in a horizontal bar associated with each candidate that I chose.

Back then, things were totally different. The US president was the former Supreme Commander of all allied forces in World War II. He had commanded the invasion of Normandy, the largest land invasion in the history of the world. As President, he was Commander in Chief and ordered federal marshals to take on this challeng.

The Problem We All Live With

This video shows one of the Old General’s successors talking to the girl shown in that painting. He’s the guy I voted for with my paper ballot.]

That’s how our voting system works.