November 7, 2006, Forest Hills, Queens - Well, that sucked. But hey, it's not the end of the world. And 2008 is only two years away...
In the meantime, there's another big change afoot: After decades in use, the nifty lever voting machines we use in New York State are due to be replaced by the 2007 election. By what, we don't know. But I'm sure they won't be nearly as cool.
I've been using these machines since I was a little kid, then in practice elections in high school, and in every election since I turned 18. No, kids can't vote in New York; my parents would take me into the booth, and I could flick the little levers. For important races, they'd tell me which lever to flick. For the unimportant races - such as the judgeship elections in which every candidate is running simultaneously on the Republican, Democratic, Liberal, Conservative, and Monster Raving Loony parties - I could flick to my heart's content.
But the little levers next to the candidates' names have nothing on the Big Red Lever Of Democracy. For those of you who aren't familiar with these machines... when you step into the booth, you pull this big red lever (shown here) before you start voting. Then when you're done flicking (and unflicking) the little levers, you pull the big lever back to record your vote. Each pull makes a resounding CHHHUNK sound that, to me, is the sound of Democracy In Action. (Plus, on the better machines, the lever controls the curtains, too!)
Sure, there doesn't seem to be a way to tell if our votes are ever actually counted, and no particular backup to inspect if there's any suspicion of things going wrong, and they're clunky and break down occasionally. But without that big red lever, voting is just not going to be the same. I don't care what system the state uses to replace the machines, as long as I get to pull a big red lever when I'm done.
(PS - November 8 is my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday, even though I'm sure you don't read my blog...)