Below The Beltway

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Virginia’s Not So Secret Ballot

by @ 1:34 pm on February 15, 2008. Filed under 2008 Presidential Primary, Virginia, Virginia Politics

When Kellie and I went to vote on Tuesday, we were among the first ten people in line and the first question that the poll worker in our precinct asked each voter was whether they wanted a Republican or Democratic ballot. And she asked the question pretty loudly and handed them the proper ballot card based on their answer, even though both of us, and most of the people in line in front of us, tried to keep the answer quiet.

Cause, you know, ballots are supposed to be secret and it’s really nobody else’s business which party’s primary I’m voting in.

Like most of Virginia, we use electronic voting machines, and Vivian Paige asks a really good question:

[G]iven that we have computerized voting machines, why can’t they be programmed to allow the voter to choose whether they want a Republican or Democratic ballot? Seems to me that would solve two problems. First, it would allow voters to truly keep their political affiliations secret. After all, we don’t register by party in VA.

Second, it would eliminate election workers asking the wrong question. I actually had someone contact me Tuesday about an election official asking a voter what party they were registered for (one of those people who is obviously unaware that we don’t register by party) and then giving them the ballot on that basis. (Yes, I reported it.)

Sounds like a good idea to me.

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