Visit on Facebook Visit on Linked In Follow on Twitter


From Hanging Chads to Half-filled Ovals

     I was getting really good with that gleaming stiletto on the too-short beaded chain. I jabbed it into the ballot so hard it went clear through three pages and knocked over the cardboard booth in the process. No hanging chads on my ballot. Every one of my votes counted.

     Last week I got the new voting instructions for the Optical Scan Paper Ballot System. Boy was I surprised! I thought we were going electronic, but actually we’re going back to pencils. Remember those? They call it a marker in the brochure, but we know what it is. It’s a pencil.

     Now how’m I going to poke a pencil through a cardboard ballot? I can’t even poke a pencil through a plain ol’ piece of paper without smushing the paper all up.

     Not to worry. Instead of poking a hole in the ballot, we’re s’posed to fill in a tiny, tiny, tiny oval. The instructions say to “completely fill in the ovals. DO NOT circle or mark ovals with an ‘x’ or a checkmark.”

     Well, that’s okay. I can skip the x’s and the checkmark’s. It’s the “completely filling in the ovals” that’s got me worried. Especially the completely part. I never could stay in the lines in coloring books and I haven’t had much practice lately.

     So now I’m wondering - if I’m supercareful not to go outside the lines, but don’t completely fill in the oval, will my vote count? Actually, what I’m more worried about is that I will go over the lines and - Gee, I hope those ovals aren’t too close together.

     With all this stress, I’ll probably start to fill in the wrong oval. The instructions don’t say anything about erasing - is it okay to erase the wrong one and fill in the right (no political undertone intended) one? Will they have erasers, or do we have to bring our own? And what if we leave eraser smudges in the oval? Will smudges disqualify the whole ballot?

     I sure don’t think this is going to be much of an improvement over hanging chads and all those other kinds of chads. Now we’re going to have half-empty ovals and outside-the-lines ovals and a whole lot of really smudged-up ovals.

     I know, what’s the big deal? We all did this when we were in school taking multiple choice tests - but in school you could erase your answer and do it over and no one marked you off if you turned in a smudgy answer sheet. Besides, those were circles. Not ovals. Circles are easier. You just go round-and-round with your pencil and pretty soon the circle’s all filled up with pencil lead. But an oval – well, if you go round-and-round you’re gonna for sure go outside the lines on the top and bottom of the oval. So you have to go elliptical-and-elliptical. Most of us aren’t too good at that.

     Whoever thought of putting ovals on the ballot anyway? Maybe those scanners don’t know how to read circles. Maybe the guy who programmed the scanners thought oval was beautiful. Symbolic… you, know – of the office.

     They should give us an electronic marker that if you touch the middle of the oval with it, the oval fills automatically. And stays inside the lines. I could do that – touch the middle. That would be sort of like jabbing a stiletto through the ballot. Not as satisfying, but it would reduce the number of half-filled, over-filled and smudgy ovals.

     Oh well, -------’s gonna win by a landslide, so all this won’t matter a bit. (Don’t bother to count the dashes. I put in a few extra to throw you off.) Happy voting!

Back to Smile-breaks


© Copyright 2015 Sheila Buska All Rights Reserved
Site Design & Maintenance by Dreamwirkz Web Designs, Inc.