I Voted Early!

Next Tuesday the state and local primary elections take place for various elected offices across The Sunshine State. However, for the past 2 weeks the Orange County Elections Office (as well as all the elections offices throughout the state) have offered voters the opportunity to cast their votes early at selected polling places within the county.

i_voted.jpgSo today, on my way home from work, I stopped at my local library branch to beat the rush and get my vote in early. I’ve taken advantage of this opportunity during the past several elections and the convenience cannot be beat! I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes; today I only waited 2 minutes, and 1 minute of that was handing over my ID and verifying the voter roll information. One of the poll workers then showed me how to vote using the new touchscreen machines. Now, I am all for technological advances, but I’ve had real concerns about using these machines because of the possibility that the results could be manipulated. I asked if there was a paper ballot that was produced following my vote. The poll worker told me that my vote would produce a paper record on election night at 7pm when the polls close and the machines are downloaded. People who vote on the actual election day using the touchscreen machine would receive a paper ballot of their vote to turn in and have deposited into a box, but those voting early (such as myself) would not have their votes counted and recorded until the polls close on election night.

I have to admit to having some concern with this process. Votes in the machine could still be theoretically altered to favor particular candidates BEFORE the printing of the paper record on election night. I asked why the machine could not supply me with a paper record at the conclusion of my voting that I could review and sign as being valid, but was told they were not set up to do that yet. I hesitated for a moment, finally deciding to proceed because I was already there prepared to vote and this was the primary, not the general election. But I may have to seriously reconsider voting early if it means giving up a paper record of my vote.

If you’re interested in voting early, tomorrow (Saturday) will be the last day you can do so before the general elections next Tuesday. Whether you choose the early day or wait until election day, I hope you’ll exercise the freedom of our representative form of government and VOTE for the candidates of your choice.

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