Did You E-Vote? How’d It Go?

By  |  Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I woke up this morning looking forward to voting–and looking forward to doing so electronically for the first time. California’s San Mateo County uses something called the eSlate voting system, and I figured my experiences, good or bad, would make for a good post here.

When I arrived at my polling place, though, they found no record of me on the roster of registered voters. I’m pretty sure that this is simply because I’ve only lived in San Mateo county for five months, and registered to vote here at the last moment. But I was only allowed to vote provisionally, and we provisional voters use a very old-school system: I filled in circles on a paper ballot and then stuffed it into a box with a slot on top.

So did anyone reading this vote electronically? If so, I’d love to hear about your take on the system you used…or even on electronic voting in general. I remain skeptical about it–although the eSlate, which has a paper backup, looks OK. But as a techhead, I feel deprived for never having had the chance to try it.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Tim Says:

    A similar situation happened to me during the 2004 elections in Oakland: I had a voter registration card, received documentation in the mail that told me which polling station to go to, but when I showed up, my name was off the rolls.

    After that, I had to go to City Hall, wait in line for 2-3 hours (with some would-be voters that were in a similar situation, according to our conversations in line), and then only got to submit a provisional ballot.

    That said, I did get to submit my provisional ballot electronically. Trust me, you aren’t missing much…

  2. mz Says:

    It’s just touch screen voting, nothing exciting. I prefer the old punch ballot….even if mine ended up in the boxes floating in the bay.

  3. Wholly Says:

    Where I am uses touchscreens but does include a voter viewable paper tape record. Without that I’d have voted on paper with you.

  4. Steve Wildstrom Says:

    I voted in Montgomery County, MD, which has had lots of problems with a Diebold Accuvote TS DRE system and an electronic registration database. Today everything worked flawlessly in my precinct, despite very heavy turnout. It helped that the ballot was very short: President, and all but uncontested House race, school board, a couple of judges, and four ballot propositions, only one of which was at all controversial,

    Of course, now that they finally have the system working right, they’re going to retire it in favor of optical scanning. An improvement in terms of verification, but it means starting all over training the poll workers.

  5. Chris Bachmann Says:

    The machines were pretty smooth in Howard County, MD. I’ve been putting in calls to those I know who are involved and there were very few problems.

  6. George Brickner Says:

    I live in suburban Cook county, IL.
    We have touch screens and scanners for paper ballots. I think these are made by Sequoia.
    I chose the paper ballot. You use a “Sharpie” pen to connect two line segments into a continuous line to vote for a candidate.
    When we feed the ballots into the scanner, it’s supposed to check for under and over votes.