Like so many other counties in Pennsylvania and across the country, we were upgraded to fully electronic machines ten years ago when everyone was saying they were the wave of the future. [NARRATOR: But they weren’t!] By next year, I’m told, they’ll all be replaced again, this time with something that preserves a paper trail. Me, I miss the old punch cards, and that extra bit of interaction with a poll worker when you handed over the completed ballot and she tore off the stub and handed it back to you, because the voter alone must drop the ballot in a box. There was a ceremonial, almost religious feeling to it. But then we were in a church. Not the sanctuary, you understand, but the room where they have church suppers. It felt homey, despite the fact that all the poll workers and most of the other voters in line were probably conservative Republicans and I’m on the far left.
of the cross
loving thy enemies
About the same time that we got the new machines, they moved our polling place to the middle school. You walk in and there’s someone sitting in the middle of the hall playing traffic cop and waving everyone through a door to the right. I smell the once-familiar smells and notice a funny feeling in my stomach.
back to my old school
but not in a nightmare
We go as a family group but each votes alone… except for my mother, who always has trouble with the machine’s weird combination of analog and digital, the action of turning this, clicking that, and looking up there at the screen. A poll worker has to assist her from an arm’s length away.
turning the wheel around