Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Technology Fears Me

Our municipal election was held yesterday.  (It's non-partisan, so it can't be held on the same day as Republican vs. Democrat elections, but why just a month away from the other election?  Why not in April or something?)  The only items in my district were the mayoral contest (between eight candidates, so a run-off is likely), bond renewal questions (which usually pass overwhelmingly -- I mean, who's going to vote against funding libraries, fire departments, or senior citizens?), and a proposal to require sick leave for Albuquerque-based businesses (which was a 50/50 race as of the last time I saw the news last night).  In other words, I'd just have to go vote again for mayor, so why bother?  I did my duty, though.

The queue emerging from the school gymnasium wasn't very long, and it moved fairly consistently, and I had a book to keep me company.  (The people in front of me either were talking to each other or staring at their phones.)  An attentive poll worker efficiently directed us to the next registration station, of which there were eight.  As soon as I got in line behind the first voter at my station, I heard three slams.

No, this was not an active shooter situation.  This was the sound of three people opening then closing the covers of their printers, to make the toner last a little longer.  This included the poll worker who was going to enter me.  (Yes, "Uh-oh," would be an appropriate response from you.)

The poll worker found me in the system (without having to ask my middle initial, like the person next to me; it helps having a unique name like Captain Chlorophyll).  I signed the electronic pad confirming my address & birthdate.  The printer spit out my ballot -- and then stopped.  It did not print the second sheet, confirming that I was holding a real ballot and not one I had printed at home and brought with me.  It was out of toner.  I could not vote without that second sheet.  I was officially in limbo.  The poll worker apologized.  I said, "That's all right."  Internally, I smiled and thought, "It figures."

Apparently, my Weather Wizardry affected not just my printer, but two others, one of which also was caught in the middle of printing a ballot.  (It figures.)  There were no spare toner cartridges in the boxes of spare stuff.  (It figures.)  The poll supervisor phoned tech. support, but no one answered.  (It figures.)  After several minutes without a callback, the supervisor decided that our ballots would have to be voided, we'd have to be cancelled in the system, and then re-registered.

Who needs Russians to interfere allegedly with our elections when the equipment can screw itself up just fine, thank you?  (Alternatively, you could tie me up each election day to prevent me from interfering.  I suppose that's easier and cheaper.)