When you look at the very way we vote, there’s little question why we struggle to get anything done. The actual process itself is so inefficient that there’s little hope that the outcome has any chance of making a difference.
I’d imagine today’s voting experience was a familiar one to many:
Wait in a line, only to be told 15 minutes later that your district was going right in.
Chose between one of two unmarked lines for your district. Sure, you can guess that it’s split by the alphabet (which it was), but most just chose the shorter line.
Wait on another line for 30 minutes.
Watch a fight nearly break out when someone was on the wrong, shorter, unclear, line.
Watch the people behind the desk get frustrated by the people who are fighting.
Watch as no one gets or makes the “A to L” and “M to Z” signs that would resolve the issue.
Get a ballot.
Wait on another line for 15 minutes to go inside a voting booth.
Read instructions ala Ikea.
Wait on another line for 15 minutes to scan your ballot.
Get confirmation that it scanned with no confirmation that it was correct.
Wonder all day, month, year, term if your vote actually counted.
Leave feeling worse about our prospects than when you came in.
Half-heartedly remind others to vote. Mostly to affirm that you did.
It’s also not all that difficult to imagine what comes next:
Dread the rest of the day.
Get the results.
Be happy or sad.
Wonder if the outcome will actually make a difference.
Watch the people we elect fight like the people in the unclear lines.
Watch the people who voted get frustrated by the elected officials who are fighting.
Watch as no one, myself included, gets or makes the “A to L” and “M to Z” signs that would resolve the issues.
Wait four years to find that little, even the very way we vote, has changed.
Do it all over again.
Update: Some nice perspective from J.D. Bentley on the positive aspects of paper ballot voting.