I have just returned from my polling place. I was amazed to discover that the new system of recording votes was so poor. Many of my first attempts to mark the ballot for particular offices did not succeed in marking the ballots. The InkaVote system is even worse than the old punch cards. It is true that there are no hanging chads now. But at least then I could inspect the completed ballot to make sure that there were none.
It is extremely difficult to check whether there really is a mark from the ink. It is impossible to determine even if a voter tried to mark the ballot, to say nothing of what that attempt indicated. Surely we can do better. Paper ballots would be superior to this system. Counting may be difficult, but the voter can clearly determine whether her vote has been indicated. Frankly I am both surprised and outraged that L.A. County can do no better.
Bruce E. Wright
Over the years, I have made it a point to vote in person whenever I can. I believe that the act of voting in person on election day, with neighbors in one's own neighborhood, is a testament to the electoral process and helps bind the diverse elements of a city and country. However, after spending more than 90 minutes in line to vote Tuesday, I have made the decision never again to vote in person.
Despite clear indications that polling places would be crowded, our polling place was completely unprepared. Officials complained, loudly and often during my wait in line, that they were not adequately trained, and it showed. Voting is a privilege, but it should also be a respected community act. Unless we can come to grips with our failures and create a workable system, more people will make the choice I have made, and voting will become an individual, shrouded act, and not a symbol of community action.
Robert E. Braun
I recently turned 18, and I was excited about finally being able to vote for the leaders of my country. I filled out my first registration in early August. Tuesday I was forced to vote on a provisional ballot because my name was not on the roll. From downloading misleading voting information from the secretary of state's website, to being told I could not request an absentee ballot almost two weeks before the Oct. 26 deadline, to instructing uninformed poll workers about how to record my provisional ballot, my first time through the voting process has felt more like a hassle than a freedom. No wonder Americans my age don't vote.
USC Student, Los Angeles
Re "Our Condolences to the Winner," editorial, Nov. 2: Sorry, L.A. Times, you've finally gotten to us, after many years of daily readership. What a wimpy election day editorial! "Whoever you are, we're confident you have it in you"? Talk about flip-flopping and indecision and all that good stuff. Hard to believe that the L.A. Times falls into the "undecided" column in a critically important contest.
Gordon and Bette Mason