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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hey, no peeking at my ballot

I got the creeps when I voted yesterday.
I thought the ballot was designed to stick out of the cardboard sleeve just enough to be fed into the vote-counting machine. That guarantees your vote remains private.
Instead, the man making sure my paper ballot registered correctly had told me to remove the ballot from the cardboard. And, call me paranoid, as he glanced down at my sheet, he could see how I voted.
At the machine at my ballot, he said slowly, “Wait, wait, wait,” and when the machine indicated my vote had been counted, he said, “Go home.”
Maybe he didn’t really look at which circles I’d darkened. But he easily could have. Even by accident. It could be intimidating.
I admit I liked the old machines. I liked the clicking sound of selecting candidates in a private booth and the schwing when you yanked the lever to register the vote and open the curtain.
However, I am in favor of ways that make it faster, easier and more efficient for people to vote and for votes to be recorded. But election workers need to be trained to help the voter feed the ballot from the sleeve into the machine. No peeking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there is no privacy whatsoever with the new ballots--the poll worker actually pulled away the privacy folder and said "You don't need that." For myself, I could care less if anyone sees how I voted, but the system does have to be improved.

November 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the fact that the guy was 109 years old.

November 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly the same thing happened to me...and he was sitting next to the machine - a no-no in procedure - with no name tag ("I lost five name tags already..." Me: "So put on a sixth...")

I called the County Board of Elections and they said that they would call the polling place (#15 - Caroline Street School) as their training states never to sit/stand by the machine and never handle the ballots.

The person in front of me was accused of pushing the buttons on the machine and causing the machine to jam. Never happened.

November 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM 

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