Thursday, November 1, 2012

Voting "La Palanca"

I've been around elections since I was very little. My dad was in politics and eventually became an elected board member of a school district. After his tenure, he continued to support friends who ran for other offices either in the local, state or federal level. We walked streets, knocked on doors, and asked people to vote.

My dad instilled in me the importance of being involved in the community and having a voice through the voting process. I remember going with him to vote at my school, which was a polling location, entering a booth and having the curtains close behind us. Each candidate had a lever. At the very top were levers for parties, which allowed voters to vote straight party or as I grew up knowing it as "la palanca."

Lever machines were phased out and replaced with optical scan, which is similar to bubbling in Scantron sheet. Then after the "hanging chad" incident, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which introduced America to electronic voting machines.

Although voting "la palanca" is a phrase from the past, the idea of voting straight party is still practice.

Check out this article from American City and County, which provides a retrospect of the lever machine and how it was once promoted as "tally-fraud-proof."



1 comment:

rooth said...

It's really quite admirable that you had that sense of civic duty instilled in you at such an early age - kudos to your dad for doing that