It was a monster ballot this year. Five pages though compressed on front/back of 3 sheets.
Some things to note about this election in Rhode Island:
The Secretary Of State’s web site is down. Their main site and their RSS feeds are completely fubar at this point. Now this is interesting because when I worked there we never had an outage on Election days. Of course we hosted all our web services locally. But the State of Rhode Island decided all officers should host on THEIR side. So when you go to http://www.sos.ri.gov you get the little spinning icon and the page never loads because the geniuses in DoIT didn’t load balance the main page. Ooops!
Went to vote around 9:00AM – there was a line of about eight people in front of me, and all eighteen voting booths were occupied. Took about ten minutes before I could get in a booth to vote.
I did note a few things though:
There seemed to be a fair bit of confusion over this ballot. Usually it’s a single sheet, sometimes duplex, but this time out there were three separate ballot sheets.
The other issue was language – and not foul language. I get kind of peeved that they have to describe the questions in both Spanish and English. The reason I get peeved isn’t because the Spanish is there but because we seem to be catering exclusively to those who speak either Spanish or English. It is the 21st century after all. It’d be a fairly simple matter to have a printer at the poll that could print the ballot in ANY language. The text doesn’t matter so long as the Approve/Reject fields are there. You could have a primary language field in the Central Voter Registry, and based upon that your ballot would come out in YOUR preferred language, even Klingon if you so prefer. Printers have gotten pretty fast and cheap over the years so it wouldn’t be a big stretch to do this.
The above would do two things. First it would eliminate 90% of the language problems. Second – it would mean in most cases you could vote the entire election on just one double sided ballot. And the serendipitous benefit, less paper!
They didn’t ask for ID – I just handed it to them and watched the slow search through the poll book. Here’s a suggestion to local canvassers, put indexing tabs on the pages. You know, Aa to Ab, Ac to Ae, etc. That way you can just look at the index tab, pull it open and find the name based on the first two characters of the last name.
Signed the slip, got my ballot and waited about a minute before an empty booth opened up. Now I had already researched the ballot before I went in so it was just complete the line, and so on. Took about 3 minutes to vote.
Did something I haven’t done in a long time though. When it came to the President, VP, state reps and senator, etc. I just ticked the Democrat box. Reason being the only office with any competition was for President. And of the seven candidates the most logical at this juncture was President Obama, and how the state reps had no opposition on this ballot, why waste the time ticking off each office.