Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Sep 19 2005

Voting By Touch And Voting By Mail

I had a chance to play with (and observe others playing with) some electronic voting machines at the Santa Cruz County Fair last week. There were several brands and models there. Diebold products were conspicuously absent, due to recent decertification, though I understand they are hard at work to improve their products.

I watched several people try out the touch screens and other goodies. In the effort to be all things to all people the machines may be producing a certain amount of confusion, especially during an "Oh, I changed my mind" moment. Going back forth between screens sounds nice and was quite easily done, but I noted that people also forgot where they were in the process. One lady insisted she had not voted the way the screen was telling her she had voted. When people chose only one "candidate" on a "choose two" screen a full-size prompt screen came up to remind them they could choose a second name. My personal preference would be a smaller prompt box that would not take the original vote screen away from the voter's view.

Some demo machines included braille touchpads and were equipped with headphones. Our state requirement of a "paper trail" has forced some "bells and whistles" on machines that are still being perfected by manufacturers. at least one demo machine allowed voters to choose one of several languages, which causes heated debate in itself. Some feel that voting should be done in English only.

In the midst of all this machine madness there is another movement from the legislature that would allow seven California counties to be part of a pilot program to use vote-by-mail ballots. Assembly Bill 867, as it is currently written, includes Santa Cruz County as one of the particpating counties. I have no idea how all this will play out for those of us who work at the polls, but I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

posted at: 16:25 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Is Your Neighbor On This Map?

I suppose this is one way to check out a neighborhood before you move into it. I wonder if this could lower your property's value if you had several (known) sex offenders in your area. I can see this sort of thing becoming a bargaining tool in the real estate arena.

posted at: 10:57 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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such varmints when they least expect it!