I arrived at the polling place at 4:55. No lines, really two, maybe three people deep at the table at most and no waiting for a booth. I cast ballot #993 for the precinct, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the pollwatchers had side bets on when they’d hit a thousand. Elapsed time: five minutes, twenty seconds, and yes, I did both sides of the ballot. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Oklahoma voting system: you mark your ballot a substantial piece of card stock by filling in the center of an arrow pointing to the candidate or choice provided. You then take the ballot to an optical reader, which scans both sides as you slide it in, and flashes a green light if it finds no anomalies. If something’s wrong, you get a red light, they hand it back to you, and if necessary give you a new ballot. A four-digit counter ticks over once for each good ballot. When the polls close at 7:00, the reader is disconnected, and the plastic box underneath it, where all the ballots have fallen, is sent, along with the appropriate register tape, to the county election board, which in turn is responsible for getting it to the state election board. Results are posted here starting at 7 pm and updated as new boxes are received. Seldom will you hear any horror stories about Oklahoma voting: it’s fast, there’s an actual paper trail, and it’s relatively hard to screw up. In Presidential years there are longer lines, of course, but some people only come out every four years.