Two weeks ago was my very first time in a voting booth. Until last year I had always been an Oregonian, and in Oregon you vote by mail. My own personal bias is that this is a better system—research generally shows all-state voting-by-mail increases voter turnout, as it is very convenient, and I think it leads to generally more informed decisions. But now that I’m a proud North Carolinian I had to go vote in person, and so I went to a polling station with my lovely wife. And not only was the process pretty quick, but it was pretty interesting, too.
In North Carolina the machines record your vote on paper as you vote, and you can check the paper as it scrolls upward behind a piece of protective plastic. So basically, that part of the voting record is like a receipt. The screens displayed things like any other digital display, and for the most part things made sense. I did, however, get confused once: I thought the receipt was for me to take home once I had finished, and I had a moment of shock when, after confirming that all of my votes were correct, the machine then ate my paper record. But it makes sense that the state keeps a non-digital ballot of votes cast, and I fully support that effort.
Anyway, I love politics and I will be staying up late to see how various elections turn out tonight. I’ve heard reports across the country already about voting lines turning long, or polling stations having machine malfunctions, or places running out of paper ballots. All of that is unfortunate, to say the very least. But early voting in North Carolina is simply a breeze, and my experience was incredibly positive. As always, I was quite happy to let my voice be heard, and Leah was, too!
–Jeff and Leah