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Voting

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Slartibartfast:
I waited for about half an hour, gave up, came back two hours later, then waited for another hour before the guy overseeing the line jumped me to the front because I had a cranky toddler and a grumpy baby and nobody wanted to hear them fussing.  We saw DH pull up just as we were leaving - he waited about two and a half hours.  (This was mid-afternoon - the people coming before/after work had much longer waits.)

In our case, the main reason there was a holdup was because the polling places rely on volunteers.  People who are free to volunteer during the day for this type of thing tend to be retirees.  Ours were very old, somewhat blind, and very slow.  It took 3x as long as it should have to get checked in to vote.

The other issue was the way they broke up the lines - they split the alphabet into A-G, H-L, and M-Z.  Not surprisingly, the lines with 1/4 of the alphabet apiece were pretty empty, while those of us with names starting in the latter half of the alphabet all had to wait quite a while.  (In the rain, I should add.  Turnout would probably have been more if it had been a nicer day.  Or if our state's outcome for national and state elections hadn't already been pretty much foretold.)

My state does paper ballots, so waiting for voting machines wasn't an issue, but for some reason they only had three or four tables set up when they would have had space for twice that.  I was really glad I had researched all the state amendments ahead of time, because several of them were confusingly worded and I bet it took people several minutes to puzzle through them and figure out what they meant.

I had hoped to show Babybartfast what voting would be like and get her interested in the idea.  Instead she was grumpy, cranky, and barely consoled by my "I voted" sticker.  I'm glad the election is over!

Seraphia:
We didn't have terrible lines, but I live in a fairly small city, and we have the option of either computer voting or paper ballot.

It took maybe 15-20 minutes for DH and I to vote, including time reviewing the ballot before it was printed from the computer. (I'm fussy) It was faster because we knew which district we were voting in (three are handled at our polling place), and didn't have any changes of address. The woman in front of us had just moved, and the poll workers were calling another location to see about her being able to vote there, rather than having to drive across town. I doubt she was the only one with that issue. Plus, we're checked off by hand from a list so we can't vote multiple times. That's no big deal when there's a couple hundred people on that list, but I'd imagine in a big city, it'd be a circus.

In the county where I went to school, there were close to 90,000 votes cast, which isn't unusual for a presidential race, but pretty high for any other election. In addition to the usual logistical issues, some polls may have just not been equipped with enough people/resources to handle that kind of volume. I know that at least one county had the actual counting delayed by a couple hours because their computer system went down at the worst possible time.

WillyNilly:

--- Quote from: Slartibartfast on November 09, 2012, 09:41:09 AM ---In our case, the main reason there was a holdup was because the polling places rely on volunteers.  People who are free to volunteer during the day for this type of thing tend to be retirees.  Ours were very old, somewhat blind, and very slow.  It took 3x as long as it should have to get checked in to vote.

--- End quote ---

Really?  In NY the poll workers are paid over $10 an hour*.  Most people think they are volunteers (at least based on FB comments), and yes they are for the most part extremely elderly (I'd say the average age was over 75 years) and so reading the fine print in the big book of names takes a bit longer, as does hearing people in echo-y spaces with lots of background noise.


*I looked into being a poll worker 4 years ago at the last national election as I was on unemployment at the time.  It was about $12 or $14 an hour, for an 8+ hour shift.  Unfortunately the way unemployment benefits are calculated though, it would have reduced my weekly benefits by more then I'd make in the one day, so it would have ultimately been a financial loss and the experience, although I'm sure interesting, would not have professionally benefited me so I did not do it.  I suspect many poll workers are retirees because pensions & SSI have no penalties or penalties that kick in at higher earnings rates, so for them it is financially profitable.

Two Ravens:
Also:
1. Voting in the US takes place on Tuesday. Since this is a normal workday for many people, there tends to be a rush early in the morning and after 4, when people are getting off work.

2. As stated before, poling places to rely on volunteers, which means that due to staffing, sometime there are only a few "voting booths" open.

3. Voting can take time. There are usually a lot of state/local measures that need to be voted on. On my local ballot, they were very wordy, and it took some time to figure out a. what they were about and b. how to vote for/against them

3a. Ballots can be tricky (See the infamous Florida Butterfly Ballot debacle). I have personally witness older folks having to ask volunteers how to vote for who they want to vote for. The poor aids have to walk a very fine line.

4. Sometimes there are errors with the scanners, or the voting machines go down. This can cause a huge back up.

Flora Louise:
Chicago here. I took over an hour to vote. Partly due to lines and partly due to the lengthy ballot. We had a Constitutional amendment to vote on (3/5 vote required for pension legislation), a referendum (electric supply), and because we vote for judges in Illinois a ballot with the names of 60 or so sitting judges running for retention (they must receive 60% of the vote to be retained) and another 45 or so candidates running for judge. Takes a while to tick all those boxes.

To top off, our legislature redistricted this year and many folks were in the wrong precincts.

God bless the poll workers.

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