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I Vote for ... Paper
Thursday 4th of November 2010 07:36 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Do you want paper or plastic?

If I'm in the grocery store, I usually vote for plastic. (That's because I can carry more plastic bags at one time, saving trips to the car. However, if it's near Christmas time, I might opt for paper. Santa might need to borrow a paper sack for his special deliveries. And yes, I know I should opt for cloth bags every time ... but, I digress.)

But when it comes to exercising my constitutional right to vote, I think I'm going to have to vote paper.

After the primary election in August, I was chastising myself for not being brave and trying the new electronic voting machine at my Sylvia polling place.

I promised a faithful reader I would try the electronic ballot during the general election. And, being someone who keeps her promises, I did.

I voted at 6:30 Tuesday evening before I went to a PEO meeting in Sylvia. So you'd have thought they'd have the voting machine figured out 11 1/2 hours into the process.

But, since I was only about the second person to use it, it hadn't gotten a lot of action during the day, according to the poll workers.

"Lightly tap it with your fingernail," they suggested when I couldn't get the screen to move forward when I tapped "Next."

Oops ... Another one of my failings is revealed. No fingernails.

And no amount of tapping seemed to make the machine budge. It "talked" back with its electronic "thud," but refused to move. I tried. An election worker tried. Finally, I guess we held our mouths right and it advanced.

Each time I tried to advance to the next page, I repeated the electronic "dance" with the machine.

I did eventually get the ballot submitted, taking only three times as long as it would have if I'd used my black felt-tip pen to fill in the ovals.

I would try it again, but I also have another quibble with how the machine is positioned at the Sylvia polls. It's facing the poll workers and anybody who happens to walk in to vote.

Not that there was anyone who walked in to vote during my time there, but I still like the privacy afforded by that patriotic red, white and blue voting booth.

Randy and I covered the spectrum of voters on Tuesday. He was the third person to vote. I was the 25th to vote in our township and about the 100th person to vote overall.

Just in case you're wondering, Randy voted for paper. I'm afraid I may have to do the same next time.

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