16 January 2008

I Voted. I Think. Probably. Maybe.

So, I don't know if you have been following news of Michigan's primaries, but they seem to be an utter farce this year. There is some kind of a dispute between the national Democratic party and the state party. The side effects are:

- Several of the biggest-name Dem candidates (Edwards and Obama among them) are not listed on the primary ballot.

- There's a write-in option, but if you write in one of these missing candidates, your vote will not be counted for that candidate(!)

- One of the candidates (Dodd) was listed, but he actually dropped out of the race earlier. (According to the results he still received 1% of the vote).

The recommendation was that if you wanted to vote for someone else, you should vote uncommitted. According to the results on Wikipedia, a whopping 40% followed this recommendation.

My precinct uses paper ballots with optical scanners. These are generally considered to be pretty reliable, and there is a paper trail in event of a recount. But this year, when I approached the scan machine, its counter read 466. After scanning my ballot, it still read 466. I asked the staff member about this -- she told me that it should read 466 and that if the machine took in the ballot and didn't spit it out, my vote was counted. Me, I'm not so sure. But the kids were in the car and my wife was late for a class so I didn't have time to stand there and try to determine exactly what was happening. But I left feeling somewhat uncertain that I had actually cast my vote. This just does not seem like democracy as it should be practiced!

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