Yesterday's disappointments started early. When I got to the polls in the morning I stood in line behind my downstairs neighbor and his sister. While they were both voting for Kerry, their shared understanding of the importance of the election and the issues discussed therein was embarrassing. They decided it was important that they remember to vote in the Senate election because, and this is an actual quote, "The senate is more powerful, I think. And I think I heard the Republicans were in control. And we have to make sure the Democrats win control." Thanks to their votes, Charles Schumer barely squeaked by with 71% of the vote, and the Democrats were able to hold the seat.
Voting in New York makes you think you've stepped through a timewarp. Yes, the third most populous state in the union votes with the antiquated lever system you've all heard about but have likely never seen with your own two eyes. There's no paper. There's not even a ballot, really. As you might expect, it consists of a system of levers. One big lever that starts and stops the voting process, and a series of other levers you use to cast specific votes in the different categories. There are instructions on your registration card, and then another series of instructions posted inside the voting booth.
My neighbor's sister was in the booth for a moment before she called out to the volunteer that she didn't know how to do it. We all had a laugh as he explained that it happens all the time, and that she had to pull the big lever from left to right to begin voting. To move it from right to left when she was finished. She followed these instructions, and in theory cast her vote successfully. Next it was her brother's turn. He was in there for ten, maybe twenty seconds, when from inside the booth came a voice saying "Now what am I doing here?"