Home > Parenting, Politics > Where did the Curtain and Lever Go?

Where did the Curtain and Lever Go?

“Mom, where did the curtain go? That lady standing next to us is looking at your paper. Why do you have to fill in those bubbles now?” These are just a few questions my 9-year old daughter started asking me during our voting experience last week. I say “our” because she’s been voting with me since she was a baby and is rather familiar with the process, well she was anyway.  Like so many other bewildered New Yorkers this year however, she too wondered…”what the heck?”  What was so wrong with the previous system?  I actually enjoyed the privacy of the curtain drawn by the lever.  I didn’t feel rushed or as though someone was looking over my shoulder like the way someone was literally, looking over my shoulder this time. And it’s not just me, my 72-year old mother openly admitted to looking over her shoulder while voting. In fact she “noticed” that my 70-year old dad, who was in the station next to her, was voting for all the “wrong” people, so she felt compelled to point this out to him and made him erase and fill in the “right” bubbles, right then and there. Isn’t someone supposed to be watching out for this sort of thing? And what if, I mean just what if, he was actually voting for who he really wanted to be voting for? I’m just saying. That would have never happened with the curtain and lever system.

Oh,  this new system is easy enough for most and for me, the bottom line is that I am still grateful to live in a country where I can vote but filling in bubbles with a number 2  pencil? Honestly, is that the best we can do for the $50,000,000  price tag the NYC board of elections has put on this leap in technology? That sure is a lot of pencils! I may just be a middle-aged mom but it seems more like a step back in time rather than a step forward in technology to me.  And what is the deal with the big cardboard sleeve? It “hides” the ballot while walking from your station to the scanner.   “The ballot needs to be inserted into the scanner far enough that the feed rolls can catch the ballot and slide it the rest of the way in to the machine leaving the voter holding the now empty sleeve.” Actually, I felt silly carrying it. It looked silly.

My daughter was ultimately fascinated by this new process and that evening it wasn’t the process by which we voted but the fact that we voted that was the topic of conversation. So what I am truly grateful for is that the act of voting and exercising that right is what had the biggest impact on her.  I strive to be a good power of example for my children and without a road map to follow, I don’t always take the right path, so it’s a little comforting to know that while I do miss the curtain and lever, I didn’t miss the mark and the example set on this day, was a good one.

Tell me New Yorkers, did you vote? What did you think about the new voting system? Did you miss the curtain and lever as I did ?

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Categories: Parenting, Politics Tags: ,
  1. Veronica
    November 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    My voting center had black sharpie markers instead of #2 pencils!

    This was the first time I voted in person, since I always used an absentee ballot while I was away at college. I only used the curtain once in my life for a school election (I voted myself for class VP)! Maybe it is my voting inexperience, but I always found the lever system intimidating. I felt this new system was extremely quick and easy, yet I too felt it wasn’t right that I sat at a table with others filling out our ballots. A curtain with a touch screen computer would be something I think would be appropriate for this era.

  2. J
    November 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Very nice website, congrats! I agree that this voting system is a big waste of paper and pencils. Typical NYS government antics.

  3. Heidi
    November 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I enjoyed reading that post. I also felt thrown back in time with the pencil and paper.

  4. Anouk
    November 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Great post Karen, I really look forward to reading more!! It was a bit annoying with the curtains because the kids tended to shout at Mike who to vote for. Those high school gyms really echo … now they can apparently just whisper their opinions into his ear 🙂

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