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Brief timing statistics of my vote this morning

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I voted early this morning. I thought it might be better to go in today rather than on Tuesday. I wasn’t the only one. There was a long line of people at the early voting place this morning. (This isn’t the same place that they conduct regular elections on voting day.)

Many people saw the line and just decided to come back later (I hope). Anyway, the quantitative analyst geek that I am, I started timing how long it took. I started the timer on my wristwatch and started counting people as they left the polling place.

In 45 minutes, I counted 38 people. That’s 1 minute 11 seconds per person.

The process was as follows:

  1. Wait in line for about 50 minutes
  2. Wait at the door of the voting room until there’s an open spot at the table
  3. Go to the table and sign a little sheet of paper; hand it to the clerk
  4. The clerk at the table compares your signature to your photo ID and looks up your name in the database
  5. You are given a 4-digit access code by another clerk
  6. You wait for an available voting machine
  7. You punch in your access code into the machine
  8. You vote
  9. You confirm your votes, see a print-out scroll through a window confirming your votes
  10. You leave

There were 4 voting machines at the polling place. This number is likely a lower than would be there on election day, so it’s likely that things will get done quicker on election day. For example, if there were 8 machines, I’d imagine that they could process votes at a period of 36 seconds per person.

The clerks who had to sign me in and hand me the access code wasn’t a bottleneck at all. It took people longer to actually vote at the machines (4 at a time) than it took the clerk to process people coming in. But we can safely assume that there will be more people around on election day. Keeping the ratio of clerks to voting machines at 2:4 would be safe. So, to process 36 seconds per person, they would need two clerks and 8 voting machines. Let’s hope they have enough.

In total, it took me about an hour from when I got in line to when I was done voting.

Written by PoojanWagh

October 30th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

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