Grade Your Voting Interface
I've criticized electronic voting machines in this space before for the usual reasons: their security issues, their unreliability, their lack of a genuine recount mechanism. But I also don't like the casual inattention to basic user-interface design principles I've seen in the WinVote e-voting terminals employed in my own Arlington voting precinct.
I complained about this five years ago:
But in highlighting the selected candidate's name in red, with a big X next to his or her name--instead of a checkmark or another symbol connoting approval--it made it look like I'd just voted *against* this person.
I thought such an easily fixed glitch would be corrected in time for next year's election, but the interface hasn't changed since. Fortunately, this year I'll be able to choose an optical-scan ballot that will also preserve a paper trail, and that's the option I'm going to take when I vote later this morning.
I'll post a few updates on my Twitter page, tagged with #votereport, about this year's experience (for a constantly updated collection of these voting-report "tweets" from across the nation, see the Twitter Vote Report site).
Then check back here later this morning for my critique of the new paper option. In the meantime, please add your own input: Post a review of your voting interface, electronic or otherwise, in the comments. Don't forget to note where you live.
Update: Well, that took a lot less time than I thought. I waited two to three minutes on line and, as promised, chose paper over plastic (er, silicon). Filling in ovals with a pencil gave me an instant SAT flashback, after which I handed the ballot to a volunteer who fed it into a large AccuVote-OS scanner. I have to admit that I still have some qualms about this setup--this machine (PDF) comes from Premier Election Systems, the former Diebold subsidiary that many people think represents the worst aspects of electronic voting--but at least there's a paper trail. And I trust the local government doing the counting.
November 4, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture , The business we have chosen
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