The Miracle of the Machines - An Election Day Story:
So the Rude Pundit was walking to his local precinct this morning to cast his ballot. He had his voter registration card. He had his driver's license. He had gone to mypollingplace.com and made doubly sure of where he was supposed to vote. There he had discovered that he would be using one of those new-fangled touchscreen machines he'd heard so much about. This one was the AVC Advantage from the good people at Sequoia Voting Systems. These are surely days of miracle and wonder, the Rude Pundit thought as he walked up to the school where he was to vote. He had a smile on his face - it felt like foreplay in the delicate moments just before penetration and, soon, orgasm.

When the Rude Pundit entered the gym area of the school, he saw several dozen people there, young, old, tight-assed, hippie. Democracy, he thought, who'd've thought? There were three tables, one for each area of the precinct. Each table and therefore each precinct area was assigned a single miracle machine. When the Rude Pundit approached one of the tables at random, since no signs were available to say which one was his, he was pleased that he hit it right. This was indeed where he was supposed to vote, said the old, old, so horribly old but kind woman with a stutter. But the stutter, it turned out, was not a speech impediment. The poor woman was nervous, so very nervous, because the machine for this table was not working. Period. They hadn't even been able to get it to start at all. It was over an hour, and, he was assured, a new machine was on the way. "Just come back later, if you can," said the nearly shaking woman. The Rude Pundit explained he couldn't come back later. "Then we have emergency ballots you can fill out," she said, reluctantly, as if somehow to vote this way was less meaningful than with the miracle technology. The Rude Pundit asked for the ballot, signed his name in the voting roll book, and headed over to a side table to vote for John Kerry and others.

He watched as others approached the table, with varying degrees of disbelief and outrage. Some accepted the provisional ballot. Some wanted to wait. The Rude Pundit tried to engage these coffee-needing voters, saying that it was okay to vote with paper. That, really, it was a way to assure a paper trail for their vote. Some were insistent on using the new-fangled voting machine. "For years we've used the same old machines," said one of the little old, old, so horribly old women volunteers, "and never had a problem. This year we change machines, and see what happens." The Rude Pundit fondly remembered the old machines, with their gears and clicks and levers, the giant one to close the curtain and the little ones to cast the votes. God, how tactile. How engaged those machines seemed. Ah, well, progress must march forward, thought the Rude Pundit as he inked in his little circles thoroughly and darkly.

Then one of the little old, old, so horribly old women commented to a waiting, nervous voter that the paper ballots would be taken back to the courthouse and "won't be counted until tomorrow." Whether or not this was true, several people got upset at the notion that somehow their votes meant less than those being cast in the working miracle machines on either side of our broken booth. We could not use those machines. They were for other areas of the precinct. The Rude Pundit attempted to offer comfort to the stricken. Your vote will be counted, he assured a couple of people. It's better to vote now than to worry about coming back later. A few were disgusted and left. Some looked at the Rude Pundit as if he was trying to influence their vote. He did not advocate for a candidate, simply for the right to vote, but, indeed, to insist upon voting must seem like advocacy these days.

Two or three took paper ballots. A few more sat down to wait for the promised new machine (which was supposed to be delivered already). The Rude Pundit put his ballot in the envelope, licked the sweet glue, and sealed it shut. He asked where he should deposit the ballot. One of the old, old, so horribly old women pointed to the former-voting-machine-now-statue. There, on the side of the modern miracle, connected to the machine, was a box that read, "Emergency Ballots." The Rude Pundit placed his ballot in the slot and walked out, thinking about the miraculous age in which he lived, and how we are all blessed to exist in a time where all the technology in the world serves us to make our lives easier.

Check out the Verified Voting website to see how many incidents of voting difficulties have been reported. There's already been over 2600 around the country since midnight.

And let's open this up: good or bad, send in your story of voting today. The best stories will be posted in the next couple of days. If you communed with the people to vote easily or were roughly fucked over by a poll watcher, write it up and send it to rudepundit@yahoo.com.