A Hacker at the Polls

On the second Tuesday in November I burned a vacation day, woke up at five in the morning and drove to a church down the street from where I live. I sat at a long table for thirteen hours and looked up names in a book. While I wasn’t at the church to pray I still felt as though I was cleansing my soul in some way. Over the years for various reasons I had amassed what I felt was extremely high level of personal voter debt and I felt this was a way to at least begin to pay some of it back.

During the last election I spent a lot of time being a pundit preaching about the integrity of the voting process. I figured if I am going to keep talking about elections I should get a look at what actually happens at polling places. So a few months before this election I did a few google searches, found my county’s voter information website and sent an email to the address listed for volunteers. The district where I vote was full so they assigned me to the neighboring district. In Pennsylvania the state voting website has a few videos to help explain to volunteers what to expect on Election Day. Despite them requiring Flash, I watched them all.

Of course I had to live tweet the whole day. When I arrived on Election Day morning it was just me and ‘Mary’ the Judge of Elections. Even though there wasn’t much to see she showed me around, pointed out the coffee and the restrooms and mentioned the voting machines which were already set up off to the side. In my district we use a Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machine. They weren’t much to look at but I still had to fight my urges to immediately start pulling them apart. I wasn’t here to test or even play with the machines anyway.

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