Greg Jordan: Having more than a week to vote is a lot more convenient.

May 9—After taking care of an interview Wednesday morning at the Mercer County Courthouse, I decided to go downstairs to the voter registrar's office and vote.

Early voting in available in West Virginia until this coming Saturday and I always take advantage of early voting. I've voted on Election Day in the past, but there have been times when I just couldn't make it to the polls.

Having more than a week to vote is a lot more convenient.

It was also the first time I used Mercer County's new voting machines.

There was no line when I arrived and I was voting within a couple of minutes. The machine itself proved to be pretty easy to use. It's computerized and uses a touch screen; in fact, it was easier than using a lot of ATMs.

How easy is it to use these machines? I'm not the most tech savvy or mechanically proficient guy you'll ever meet. If I can use those voting machines, a trained chimp could use them. Whoever designed them understood that not all of us grew up with the internet, cellphones and laptop computers. I'm sure I could have figured the machine out even without the poll worker's help.

I could go back on the ballot if I made a mistake or changed my mind. When I was finished, the machine printed out a paper ballot showing all of my votes.

I handed this to the poll worker and she showed me how to insert it into one of the new vote tabulators.

Within moments, my votes had been counted and I was heading out the door with a "I Voted Today!" sticker on my shirt.

I'd say I was at the polling place for less than 10 minutes.

My family has always made it a point to vote.

One of my uncle's recently used an absentee ballot because he won't be able to go to the polls himself. He was done in a few minutes.

Voting is getting easier to do. I remember the old days when you had to go to a polling place on Election Day. Sometimes the weather was good and sometimes it was bad.

Sometimes the polling place's location was convenient and a lot of times it's not convenient.

I still remember when I was a student years ago at Marshall University.

A voting precinct cut right through the campus. A polling place was set up in a student dorm's lobby, but the nearest one on the other side of the precinct's boundary was at some church a mile or two away.

That was where I had to go if I wanted to vote.

Well, I tried to find it, but couldn't. Frustrated, I gave up and went back to my room.

That was the first time I was going to vote during a presidential election and I missed out.

I'll be working late on Election Day. Getting out Wednesday and voting early checked one more item off what's going to be a busy day.

Having only one day to vote cuts down on opportunities to vote because life is unpredictable.

You don't know what's going to derail your plans and keep you away from the voting machines.

I missed out on voting because I couldn't find my polling place in an unfamiliar city. I swore that I would never let that happen again.

Conveniences like early voting makes keeping that oath a whole lot easier.

After I finished an interview Wednesday morning, I saw a chance to go vote and I took it. Once again, you never know what's going to happen. I knew if I didn't take that opportunity, I'd forget about going to vote until it was too late to do it.

Election Day always reminds me of a commercial I saw back in the Nineties.

A guy slumped in his easy chair is staring dumbfounded at his TV. He's just heard who won an election.

"I can't believe he won," he said to himself in disbelief. "I didn't think he could win. I didn't go vote. Everybody told me he couldn't win."

He thinks for a moment. "Maybe they didn't vote, either."

Greg Jordan is the Daily Telegraph's senior reporter. Contact him at