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Doing the write thing

    OK, pop quiz time.

   How many of you have ever done a write-in vote at a polling station?

   And how many of you live in Orchard Park?

   That's where the "opportunity to ballot" - known as the write-in to those who don't work for the Board of Elections - has been used most in the past couple of years, particularly in those contentious Independence Party primaries.

   In the past week, I've been told the write-in spaces are too high for short people.

   I've also been told by an irritated elections inspector that all of the polls are handicapped accessible, and all voters had to do was ask for them to be cranked down lower.

   I've had a chance to see some of the votes counted. The write-ins, like regular votes, are recorded on wide, long pieces of paper - about 3 feet wide, as long as 6 feet long, depending how many people voted.

   A vote in the wrong column isn't counted. And if you somehow end up voting as a Democrat even though you're registered as something else, your vote won't be counted because it will go in the wrong column.

   In the end, there is a written record of the votes - something that might not exist if electronic polls become the norm. But, wow, what tedious work going through those write-ins and the absentee ballots and the affidavit ballots (where there appears to be something wrong, but the inspectors take the ballot anyway in case the voter actually is right).

   That's what I've seen. Tell me a little about your experiences.

   Would you know how to do a write-in? And if you have, how did it go?

   --- Elmer Ploetz   

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