?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.


I voted today, along with most of the other three thousand registered voters in my precinct. I stood in a line that trailed outside the door in weather that was less than inviting. Once inside the polling place, I waited some more as my signature and address were verified and a ballot was handed to me.

Where I live, there are no electronic voting machines. Instead, you receive a large paper ballot that you mark with a No. 2 pencil. Did a pencil ever before assume such an important role?

There are no curtained voter booths either, so you lean over a temporary podium-like structure with your pencil and color in circles that are similar to those you probably colored on a computer-generated, multiple-choice quiz in school. Was there ever before a more important civics quiz?

Then you take your filled out ballot to a precinct volunteer who helps you put it into a scanning machine. He offers you a sticker that says, “I voted.” All in all, it was an orderly procedure with neighbors and friends recognizing each other in the various lines and slapping each other on the back as they exited the polling place. Was there ever a process more important?

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