How Voting Was Drastically Different For Me In New Jersey This Year
Election Day 2021. Wow. I went to vote today and it was a completely different experience than ever before. Wait 'til you hear what I got instead of the standard, "I voted" sticker. Keep reading. I'll start at the beginning.
I decided to go vote earlier this afternoon, on my way home from the radio station, to avoid the "after work rush" of people. I went to my polling place, which is a local firehouse, and the first thing I noticed was there were no voting machines...well, I should say that voting machines that I'm used to seeing with the curtain you pull closed behind you. Hmmm. What is this all about?
Confused, I walked over to the poll worker who was waving me on. I asked her where the voting machines were and she pointed to what looked like copy machines that you would see in office buildings.
Instead of the huge, traditional book that I've signed my name in for each election, matching up my signature, proving who I was, the poll worker turned an iPad around towards me, told me to grab an "I voted" stylus, and sign my name on the screen. Whaaaattt? I questioned each change because I thought something was wrong, instead of it being the new way of doing things.
The "I voted" stylus was mine to keep, by the way. The kind poll worker told me they're the new stickers. Lol. When I brought it home, our puppy, Maizey, was fascinated by it.
Oh there's more. I was then given a paper ballot and a black sharpie marker and was told to go fill it out. Huh? At my polling location, there were high tables with little not -so-private dividers, so 4 people could fill out their ballots at a time. I don't know about you, but, I was uncomfortable doing this...I needed a little more privacy.
Next, I was to bring it over to another poll worker, who was to help me feed my paper ballot into this new voting machine...the one that looked like the copy machine in our office. Again, uncomfortable, because you have to feed it through face up, so the poll worker could have absolutely looked at who I voted for. I quickly shoved it in to protect my privacy. The screen tells you you're casting your vote and spins a little until it says your ballot has been accepted. That part I did think was cool.
Overall, the experience was fairly quick and painless but, I'm longing for the curtained machines again, or they need to work on a new plan for a sense of privacy for voters. Maybe by the next election.
Get out there and vote. Polls in NJ and PA are open until 8pm.