Category Archives: Government

My 2008 Voting Experience

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%

Before we begin, let me make it clear I am reviewing my voting experience, not any candidate or the results of the 2008 elections. Rather, I’m reviewing my polling place, the ballot, and the general experience. Let’s begin!

Value

Around 3:00 PM, I walked downstairs, hopped on my bicycle and pedaled the few blocks to the Bellflower Apartments a few blocks away. Once there, I locked my bike up and headed inside. There was a line of 2-3 people on my side of the polling station (having voted there in ’06 I knew exactly where to go) but it quickly moved. A minute later I was standing at a polling booth with marker in hand ready to fill in the ovals next to my candidate and ballot choices (in Massachusetts we had three ballot initiatives, abolish the state income tax, decriminalize marijuana, and ban dog racing). I quickly filled in my choices for the major offices and ballot questions, pausing to Google a few of the candidates I did not see before via my iPhone.

Within a few minutes I was set and ready and walked over to the table next to the machine that accepts my ballot for a second check of my info. After watching the machine eat and process my ballot I walked out, unlocked my bike and pedaled home, arriving back before 3:15 PM.

All in all, the process was quite painless and certainly worth 15 minutes.

Score: 4 / 5

Quality

As far as I can tell, there were no voting irregularities and I did not experience any technical or registration issues at my polling place. The ballot was clear and ovals nice and big enough to mark easily. The paper ballot combined with a counting machine makes the process seem relatively straightforward and as tamper-proof as possible. The staffers were nice and the process went quickly.

Score: 4 / 5

Innovation

Here in Massachusetts we have a web-site devoted to telling voters where to go to vote and use paper ballots. Not sure about other states but the whole process seems as streamlined as possible. Personally, I believe we should move voting to the internet and release all votes anonymously so they can be independently verified but until such a day arrives the process here in Massachusetts, at least at my Dorchester polling station, is run well. It’s not really innovative but it is reliable and any voting process should focus on reliability first and foremost before attempting to innovate.

Score: 3 / 5

A paper ballot...how quaint!
A paper ballot...how quaint!

Photo credit to Andrew Teman.

Social Benefit

A quick, painless, easy and reliable voting procedure encourages citizens to vote and decreases the obstacles to voting. As such, the positive experience at this polling station helps our local community and society in general. Hopefully we improve voting methods across the country to be as smooth as it is here.

Score: 4 / 5

Freestyle!

No major complaints. In the end we don’t know if my vote was tabulated correctly but otherwise everything went smoothly.

Score: 16 / 22

I voted at the Bellflower Apartments at 24 Bellflower Street, Dorchester, MA 02125.

Complete Score: 31 / 42 = 74%