Martha's Vineyard is one of the more left-wing bastions of Massachusetts, and the town of Chilmark is a left-wing bastion within the left-wing bastion. So it may tell something about the mood of the state -- and, for that matter, the country -- that the Vineyard Gazette is reporting that in today's election for U.S. Senate, Chilmark has decided to stick with its hand-cranked ballot box and paper ballots instead of following an unfunded federal mandate to spend $2,000 on an Automark machine and software to accomodate the single visually impaired voter in the town.
The Gazette reports that, "in the past, Chilmark registered voters with visual impairments have chosen to vote by absentee ballot. They also have the option of having an elected official, or another person of their choice, read the ballot for them, or they may simply opt for a large-print ballot."
Under the federally mandated system, the town instead buys a machine that "has a screen that magnifies ballot questions and digitizes the result. There is also an option to have the ballot questions read to the voter through headphones."
The $2,000 isn't just a one-time expenditure but an annual expense, according to the Gazette article. When even Chilmark thinks the federal government is going too far in mandating spending and technocratic solutions in place of informal arrangements that have worked well in the past, it's probably a pretty good indication that Washington has gone too far.