when voters pull the lever

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
"I don't think the election is as close as many think it will be when voters pull the lever"

I wasn't paying much attention when a guest on an online talk show commented on the coming presidential election, so the red part of the sentence above is my paraphrasing of what was said. He thought the national polls mean nothing and the race isn't as close as they indicate. Some voters may choose one candidate in the polls, but they will pick the other when they are actually in the voting booth.

What I'm concerned about is whether the red part makes sense and works well with the blue part as a whole. Is "when voters pull the lever" an acceptable way of contrasting who voters choose in the polls and who they actually vote on Election day?
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  • Embonpoint

    Senior Member
    Your use of voters pulling the lever is fine. However in that sentence, you use it directly after "think it will be," which is confusing. The thinking is not happening when voters pull the lever; it is happening now.

    I don't think the election is as close as many think it will be. We'll know for sure when voters pull the lever.
    Saying you'll vote for a candidate is one thing; actually pulling the lever is another.
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    Senior Member
    USA English
    A little more explanation...........

    The old voting machines had little levers for each candidate and the person voting could change his or her mind at will until, when ready, the voter pulled a large lever on the side of the machine (or elsewhere) that then irrevocably submitted the choices.

    To me, the metaphor works best in respect to the final act, especially since I wouldn't use "pull" for the little individual levers since they are designed to be pushed downwards with a finger, as shown in the photo referenced by Egmont.
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