Prior to moving from the west coast to New England earlier this year I assumed that since the east coast has ‘been in business’ longer than the west, things would be pretty together; organized, with good systems in place. Well you know what they say about people that assume.
On the morning of November 3 – a cold yet sunny morning glimmering with a layer of unexpected snow – I stood in line waiting with several fellow townspeople for the polls to open, got screened for Covid, and was eventually handed a pen and an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper; some pesty form that a nameless office worker had run off on their HP printer, I guessed; something else to throw away when no one is looking. And then I realized that it was my ballot!
I didn’t know if I should laugh, object or look to see if there was a hidden camera ready to record my reaction. What kind of hobo, hillbilly, half-assed organization came up with these? In the year 2020, with all the technological advances of the past fifty years, when everything from paying bills to going to class is done via a series of 0s and 1s, these people expect me to cast the most important ballot I’ve cast since the very first in 1976 using 18th century technology?
Are you kidding me? What the hell? Didn’t we put a man on the moon over two generations ago? And you give me what amounts to some tree bark and a piece of charcoal?
I wanted to vote, so I kept my mouth shut and marked my little paper like a sixth grader voting for hall monitor and then handed it to the tall man standing next to the big box near the door.
No place is perfect, including Oregon, except when it comes to voting. Oregon does is perfectly:
- Everyone gets a ballot in the mail.
- The same ballot.
- A ballot on heavy cardstock that is clearly meant to be scanned into and tabulated by a computer.
- Everyone that wants to vote does so in the privacy of their own home and puts the signed ballot in the mail.
- The ballots are scanned and tabulated and there is never a problem; never a question; never a need for a recount.
It is disgraceful that using 18th century technology when 21st century technology exists has allowed the current megalomaniac occupier of the White House to cast doubt on this election when there is NO doubt.
It is appalling that using 18th century technology to run an election in what we like to think of as the greatest, most progressive nation in the world is allowing the outgoing president to delay the incoming president’s ability to take action regarding the pandemic and thus delay my getting vaccinated!
It is just plain silly that we are handing out mimeographed paper ballots! It is ridiculous. It is a joke. And while it is certainly not in vogue to criticize, it makes us a joke.
There has been a lot of bantering around of the idea that our democracy was at stake with this election; that the ideologies that divide us can ruin us. I submit that the biggest threats to our democracy are paper ballots deposited at polling places counted by humans. Any state government with a conscience or any self-respect or a whisp of a sincere wish to provide fair and uncomplicated election results must let go of this 18th century tradition and implement a system like Oregon’s.
Let’s at least take the possibility for human error out of the equation so the nonsense we are living through now NEVER happens again. Let’s just take the phrase ‘election fraud’ out of the lexicon because it simply can’t exist. Let’s have fair, safe, simple, accurate elections because we can. Let’s choose to crawl into present time instead of choosing to live in the problem-laden past.
Fixing this is just too easy.
– REENO – A graduate of Portland State University, Steve Kloser is the author of Beginning Band – A Guide to Success. Accomplished teacher, conductor, composer web developer, Packers Fan, and Proud American, Reeno’s usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on old and new. He currently lives on the Portland, OR area.
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