Running out of pens?!

There wasn’t even the choice of touch-screen voting in our precinct, so I happily filled out my giant paper ballot. I never even thought that the pen I was using might be a special pen. That the city could run out of.

On the pen issue, Quinn said each precinct was given approximately eight at the start of the day, but many locations had run out within the first few hours of voting. “But people walk off with them,” she said.

By late morning, election officials were scrambling to replenish the supply, dispatching additional pens from their 19 equipment repair stations across suburban Cook County.

If a voter uses another pen – as long as it isn’t a red one or one that bleeds through the paper ballot – Quinn said it would still be counted, although the chances of it being rejected by the optical scanner will increase.

And I’ve been very surprised to hear complaints about confusion over the paper ballots — drawing an arrow at your candidate seems like a fool-proof method: I want that one. But here’s the mayor:

The mayor took a dim view of the new paper ballot.

“Now they are drawing lines across,” he said. “I don’t understand that one…I don’t know what that means.”

The touch screen “is much faster and much easier,” Daley said.

And the guy halfway through the “Voting Day Problems” video on WGN* who complains about the “pens and the arrows and the boxes”. Is it just because it’s different from what you used to do?

* And why does WGN make it nigh impossible to reference a specific video? Jerks.

3 Comments so far

  1. Scott (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    I used the touchscreen machine. It was fun, easy, and fast, and it lets you check your votes twice before casting your ballot: once on screen and once on paper. Awesome and slick. Why is there any other system?

  2. Dave! (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

    I used the “arrow” ballots, and they are pretty damn self explanatory. I mean c’mon…

    From what I heard, the pens are “archival” for preserving the ballots. But I have no idea if that is true or not. A ballot that requires a special pen seems stupid to me, too…

    Next time, I’ll use the touch screens, damn the longer lines! :)

  3. K. (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 11:04 pm

    We only had paper ballots at my polling place, too. they were completely easy, although somehow the filling in arrows thing felt a little…silly. One man who finished voting was seriously hot under the collar because the cover for the ballot wasn’t long enough to cover the whole ballot, which meant that “THERE IS NO PRIVACY AT ALL!” The election judges handled it well, and I remembered why I never want to perform that utterly thankless job.

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