Our election night ritual this year in S. F. is unlikely to include a celebration of the winners. John Arntz, who heads the city’s Dept. of Elections, has warned voters that only the absentee ballots will be counted on election night. Because the Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, is not satisfied with the performance of the voting machines used in the city, each ballot cast will have to be visually inspected before it is counted. This will slow the process down as only 10,000 ballots can be counted each day. The impatient citizens of this information-hungry city will be forced into the same patience shown by citizens of developing countries as they routinely wait weeks for election results. Perhaps it will be good for us to be forced to sit back after the frantic pace of an election campaign and catch our breaths before we hear the results. One thing is certain–it is better to have reliable results than to have speedy ones that we cannot trust. We all hope these voting problems will be fixed before the next election, in the meantime we can practice our zen patience.
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