Voting in Tolland, CT

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It took the boys and me ten minutes once we got parked.

I decided we’d get in there early, and since polls opened at 6am, we were there at about 6:45 after I’d gotten showered and dressed. Our polling place was the Tolland Senior Center instead of the Town Hall this year because of goofy school situations on the south side of the interstate which required that move. Other than being a bit crowded inside, it wasn’t too bad.

It took a few minutes to get to the “who are you” table, a few seconds to find a chair/”booth” to vote (fill in the bubble), and a few minutes in line to wait to insert the ballot into the counting machine.

It was incredibly efficient as the process was divided up into three tasks which could run at independent speeds. There were three lines for the three “your street starts with what letter” tables, which funneled into one table to get a ballot, and about 30 chairs to vote. The line for the machine was the longest, strangely, which means it was taking people a little longer to stick the paper into the machine than it was for the three table people to figure out who was voting.

We got out to the parking lot, drove out of there nicely because the cop at the exit was doing a good job.

The funniest part about it was that the herd mentality was present. Instead of driving to the closest parking lot to park, people assumed that it was full because there were cars parked all over the place and parked in the far-out places, too.

I drove into the closest lot and parked in one of the many available spaces.

Connecticut has its act together. Other than not having “vote for one in this column” directions, which would have been a good idea, we have a nice system. It has a paper trail (the ballots are sucked into the machine and kept), the system is relatively smart because it is so simple (e.g., there is no user interaction hence fewer opportunities for bugs), and the only improvement to the machine that I can think of is a big green light that says “I got it.” (I presume that the machine checks validity, as there was some mention of sticking around long enough to make sure the machine didn’t spit it back out, but I didn’t see that happen.) But a bigger “It’s OK” announcement would be good.

Yeah, I know my vote was lost in the noise here in Connecticut, but the noise is louder in Tolland than I expected, given the results of the kids’ classes voting. The ratio was about 2:1::Obama:McCain, but it’s not the blowout I thought it would be. Perhaps it’s the Tolland crowd and Obama’s promise to redistribute the wealth… I dunno’.

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