New-Fangled Voting Machine Confuses Old-Fangled Voter

Okay, Mom can’t find her aprons any more. She rarely cooks for herself anyway. But her phone is stuck to her wall and she has a cell phone but hates it.

My mom doesn’t like change. She’s spry for her age, which is on the “pushing it” side of “over the hill. According to her, she’s seen enough change in her life that she’s like things to stay the same from now on. I can’t fault her for that.

I love her. She’s the only parent I have. That means she’s my mom and my dad. That also means that I have to accept that she:

  • will never own a computer.
  • won’t read my books unless they’re in print because e-books aren’t real.
  • doesn’t trust dishwashers.
  • won’t throw anything away because she “might need that someday.”

You need to know these things because a few years ago her county in NYS went ahead and changed the voting  process from the old click-the-lever behemoth phone-booth-sized machines to scanned paper ballots. This threw Mom for a loop, and Mom doesn’t do loops very well. Thank goodness she got her first scare during a school budget vote.

Ah, the good old days with good old voting machines with good old levers and good old men inside them. No wonder Mom loved these machines.

When she walked in and didn’t see the bank of phone  voting booths, she almost turned around and went home. But Mom never misses a chance to vote. She’s a naturalized citizen and knows more about American history than most Americans do. She takes her role as an American Citizen and her right to vote very seriously. She understands that it’s both a right and and privilege every time she clicks that lever.

Only now she doesn’t have a lever to click.

Mom was serious enough about voting to give this new-fangled process a try. Hey, it was just a school board vote. She signed in and got her large-screen-TV-sized ballot. Then she sat down at one of the little sectioned-off areas of a table and picked up this thick pen. She saw that she had to mark the dot of the School Board Candidate she wanted and then mark “Yes” or “No” on the school budget and several other items.

She picked up the pen and dabbed the circle. Nothing. She dabbed harder. Nothing. She tried looking around, but thought that people would think she was cheating or something, so she raised her hand, hoping someone would come over and help. Luckily someone did.

It’s not may fault. I have been given faulty equipment. See this book? The pages are all floppy. I can’t work like this.

“Do you need some help?”

“Yes. I’m trying to mark my ballot and nothing is happening,” she replied. My mom blushes easily and she was blushing.

“Let’s see if we can get you another pen.” The person left and returned with another pen.

“Thank you.” Mom is very polite. The person walked away to give her privacy. Again she pushed the pen on the circle. Nothing. She tried both ends of this new pen. Nothing.

She raised her hand again. “Yes?” asked the same person.

“This still isn’t working.” My mom’s voice was getting a little pitchy now. Voting should not be this hard. It was never this hard before. She was thinking this but was too polite to say it.

“Well, let’s see what I can do.” The person took the pen from Mom’s hand, pulled off the cap and tested the pen on a scrap piece of paper. “Hmm. The pen seems to have plenty of ink.”

Mom’s mouth just dropped. She thought because this was a 21st century way of voting, that the pen must be “magic.” You know, invisible ink or press and Presto! Vote-o!

She voted, and with head hung low, she walked to the man operating the “shredder thing” (known to most of us as the vote scanner). Mom let him insert her ballot.

Introducing the 21st Century Democrogreater. It counts and shreds to insure your privacy. Or does it shred and count to insure your privacy? Either way, no one will be sure if you voted, including you!

Let’s hope she had better luck this year! Let’s hope you do, too! Make sure you vote, okay? Mom would expect nothing less of you!

That’s not my mom. She could never stand in front of a crowd and speak into a microphone like that to tell you stories or lecture to you. That’s my job.

~ by Lorna's Voice on November 7, 2012.

22 Responses to “New-Fangled Voting Machine Confuses Old-Fangled Voter”

  1. Yeah, we all got a great laugh in my family when Mom told us. I told her I did a post about it and also that I must get my self-deprecating humor from her. She’s the first one to laugh at herself, so I knew she wouldn’t mind. She replied, “Yes, I suppose if I didn’t want you all to laugh at my silly mistake, I would have kept it to myself.” That’s my mom! 🙂

  2. Of course you did! So did I! 🙂

  3. I’m late getting here but the story still made me smile. And yep, I voted!

  4. “Great hanging chads, Batman”, what a funny story.

  5. Glad you got a laugh, Peter! 🙂

  6. In this day and age, leaving well enough alone would seem like a crime to most people! 😉

  7. 🙂

  8. Of course I voted. Like your mom, I believe it’s a responsibility, a privilege, as well as something women worked very hard to get. We can’t ever ignore that.

  9. I can relate. Sometimes what should be easy is so darn hard. It’s frustrating and embarrassing to ask for help. Sometimes leaving well enough alone is fine by me.

  10. That was hilarious. Makes me think we might be related. Just been reading you over at Maturestudent etc. Good to see you fame spreading

  11. Debit card? My mom is a cash only gal (well, she writes checks, too). But, she knows about ordering stuff on the internet, so she has a credit card and she has me. I’m her gateway to the web!

  12. I don’t. Not at all. I give her credit for hanging in there and asking for help. My mom is awesome! 🙂

  13. Funny, huh? She just assumed even the pen technology changed when it was just a thick Sharpie.

  14. Yes, she did her best, didn’t give up and that’s what counts. You gotta love my mom! 🙂

  15. Biologically impossible, emotionally inconceivable… 😉

  16. haha … love it!

    What a frightening thought. Dame Edna as a mother!!!!

  17. I admire older people who try their hand at modern technology and those who dont … well I understand too, it can be a little scary I think 🙂

  18. This sounds like something I would do !! Take the cap off the pen? What? OH!!

  19. The age of change…. half of these new fandangled things I don’t understand… so I don’t blame Mum…

  20. I hate change, but my daughter makes me keep up with the times. She doesn’t want me to be one of those old ladies who holds up the grocery store line because she can’t figure out how to use her debit card.

  21. And true. But my mom is the first one to laugh at herself. I get my self-deprecating humor from her. 🙂

  22. fabulous piece, enjoyed it..;)

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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