Digital Voting / by Cory

voted1.gifHere in Denver, the voting process was quite a mess. New digital voting machines were in place, and in many locations it took 2 hours of waiting in line to cast your vote. Lots of people did not get to vote because they were pressed for time and couldn’t wait that long. I voted early and did not feel the effects of this problem. I felt that the voting system was efficient, and the voting machine was extremely easy to use (granted that i am a tech savvy geek).

The voting process as I experienced it:

Check-in: 5 Minutes There were 2 booths. At the first booth I signed my registration card in front of an election official. I then brought the card to another booth where someone scanned my card and typed some stuff into a computer. She then handed my card to a person next to her that typed some more stuff into another computer and then printed my voter access code for me to use at the booth.

Voting Machine Training: 5 Minutes The assistant educated me on every detail of how to use the voting machine and what i will expect for the review and submission process.

Voting: 5 Minutes I then went about casting my votes. Once i was done, i hit a big red button to submit my votes. I then came to a review page, where i could go back and make changes. Once I reviewed and approved the review pages, my selections printed out on a device next to the machine, and the machine asked me to verify each page of the print outs. I could also go back and make changes there. I then came to a screen that was the final, final, final page and said clearly that once i hit that red button again, that was it. I hit it and walked out.

Factors that are more likely to have caused the long voting lines:

  • This time there were only 50 or so voting places in CO, last time there were well over 100.
  • The ballot was the 2nd largest in history
  • Many voters are not computer savvy, so the learning curve was likely more steep for them

The voting machine interface: The voting machine interface consisted of a numerical pad (to input your 4-digit voter access code), a knob-wheel (to scroll though the ballet and highlight a candidate or Yes/No answer), a select button (to select/deselect your choice), and a “cast your vote” red button for the final submit. I was given 3 chances to review my selections and edit to ensure accuracy. The digital screen was very large and extremely easy to read.

I am curious to hear from some of the volunteers that dealt with all of the voters to see how people struggled with these machines…thats where I would start to troubleshoot the problem. The mayer has vowed to ensure the problem never happens again.