How Voting Was Radically Different For Me In New Jersey

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Election day 2021. Wow. I went to vote today and it was a completely different experience than ever. Wait until you hear what I have in place of the standard “I voted” sticker. Keep reading. I’ll start at the beginning.

I decided to go and vote at the beginning of the afternoon, coming back from the radio station, to avoid the “after work” of people. I went to my polling station, which is a local fire station, and the first thing I noticed was that there were no voting machines … you. Hmmm. What is all this?

Confused, I walked over to the poll worker who was waving to me. I asked her where the voting machines were and she showed me what looked like photocopiers that you would see in office buildings.

Instead of the huge traditional book in which I signed my name for each election, matching my signature, proving who I was, the poll official turned an iPad towards me, told me to take a stylus “I voted”, and sign my name on the screen. What is that ? I questioned every change because I thought something was wrong, instead of the new way of doing things.

The “I voted” stylus was mine, by the way. The nice poll clerk told me these are the new stickers. MDR. When I brought it home, our puppy, Maizey, was mesmerized by it.

Oh there is more. I was then given a paper ballot and a black marker and told to go fill it out. Eh? At my polling station, there were tall tables with small 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.

Then I had to take it to another poll worker, who was to help me feed my paper ballot into this new voting machine … the one that looked like the photocopier in our office. Again, uncomfortable, because you have to fill it out face up, so the poll worker could absolutely have looked for who I voted for. I quickly inserted it to protect my privacy. The screen tells you that you are voting and spins a bit until it says your ballot has been accepted. This part that I thought was cool.

Overall the experience was pretty quick and painless, but I yearn for the curtain machines again, or they have to work on a new plane for a sense of privacy for the voters. Maybe by the next election.

Go out and vote. Polling stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are open until 8 p.m.

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