I’ve never before taken issue with the electronic voting machines Ohio has adopted. Sure, there’s the potential for hacking and voter fraud, but the Board of Elections takes steps to prevent that. They’ve created a mess in some neighboring counties when fraud was discovered, but the fact was that the fraud WAS discovered. I’ve never had a problem with electronic voting. Until today.
So it turns out that these electronic, touch-screen voting machines do not allow you to cast a write-in vote for a presidential candidate not on your state’s ballot. The ability to cast a write-in vote is kinda important in this country. Past presidents have used write-in campaigns to win primaries. See the Wikipedia page for a list of notable write-in campaigns and victories.
I’ve not exactly been quiet about how disappointed I’ve been with President Obama. Rather than taking office and kicking ass, making the changes we elected him to make and leading this country far, far back to the left (which would actually put us back in the center, after everything shifted so far past conservative during the Bush Jr. years), he’s been all about compromise. The big highlight his people keep pointing to is, “Oh, we passed health-care reform!” No, you didn’t. You passed a bill that could’ve been written by Karl Rove, it was so tailored to the desires of the major insurance companies. You passed a health-care bill that failed to create the single-payer option that over 70% of the people in this country want. Every issue, Obama has said, “We’ll meet you half-way.” When the Rethuglicans reply “no,” he then says, “Okay, how about we come half-way again?” “No.” And so it goes until what finally passes is so skewed to the right that it doesn’t do anything that it was intended to do. (And then the Rethuglicans continue to bitch and moan about how awful the “liberal” bill is.) But I digress.
Obama isn’t going to lose the Democratic primary in any state. That’s a given. But it would send a loud and clear message that we’re not happy with what he’s done thus-far if, say, 8 to 10% of the Democratic primary ballots voted for another candidate. Personally, I’ve become a fan of a guy named Vermin Supreme. Vermin Supreme is campaigning on a call for mandatory teeth-brushing laws, free ponies for everyone to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and plans to utilize zombies and turbines to produce electricity. He admits his campaign is not “reality based” and is aggressively trying to win second place. Right now, that’s who I want to vote for.
After sliding my card into the Diebold voting machine, I discover that Obama is the only name listed on the ballot for president. Then I find that there is no method of casting a write-in vote. I ask the poll workers how one goes about casting a write-in vote. They do not know. They quickly get on the phone with someone at the county Board of Elections who tells them to have me cast a provisional ballot. Okay. The provisional ballot form is set up to be read by a computer and also does not provide any space to cast a write-in ballot. This is a problem.
In the end, I wrote Vermin Supreme’s name in the space beside Obama’s and did not color in the oval bubble. Whether this get counted, I do not know. Honestly, I doubt it will get counted. Of everything else on the ballot, only one position had more than one person running. If my votes do not get counted, it won’t affect any results. But that is not the point. Every vote should be counted, and the machines need to be equipped with a method of writing in a candidate who is not on the ballot. I think this is going to be one of my hot-button topics for the next four years.