Today I went to vote in the town elections. Everything started out fine: “Street? …Number? …Name?” I took a ballot, I connected my arrows, I gave my street, number, and name again. I put my ballot into the counting machine…and it started beeping and spit it back out! Aaack! Did that ever happen to you? Quite embarrassing.
This is one of those days I’m thankful I live in a small town. I was the only voter there at the moment – 3 poll workers, 1 police officer and me. No heads whipping around to see who made the machine fuss. Turns out in one section I voted for an extra person. Oops! I guess it’s worth it to pay attention when it says “Vote for 1”.
So – just what happens when you screw up? Well, other than the machine dinging and spitting out your ballot, it also prints out a “receipt” type note about it on the back of the machine, and doesn’t register your vote (I checked). One of the poll workers takes your ballot and puts it in a special manila envelope labeled “Spoiled Ballots” (more official than “Ballots with Mistakes” or “Oopsies!” I guess). Then they hand you a new one and you make darn sure you connect only the prescribed number of arrows!
I will note that the poll workers were quite kind about it, even telling me that this isn’t the first time it’s happened. That was sweet…took a little sting out of my wounded pride. “The machine is smart,” remarked one of the poll workers. Too true! In the end, better a smart machine and embarrassed voter than dealing with miscounts from “hanging chads”!