I Voted Touchscreen

That’s what it says on my sticker, anyway. My experience was pretty good, I have to say. This wasn’t a huge election, and I think I may have been the second person voting in my district this morning. I will say this: Security issues aside, I rather liked the touchscreen voting machines. I think Santa Clara County’s are made by Diebold, but I’m not sure. I thought the interface they presented was very straightforward and easy to use, and the machine made several efforts to ensure that I knew exactly what I was voting for. The initial vote screens showed basically the same format as the sample ballot, and when you touched the box next to a candidate or issue, it turned into a green check. After you finished with the ballot, it showed you a nice screen listing only your votes (not the other options), and had you review them. Then you had to press a large yellow button to cast your vote. It was not as satisfying as the designers probably hoped.

I do have my concerns over the security and reliability of these systems, and I strongly hope that future electronic voting systems correct these issues. Santa Clara County is going to experiment with voter-verifiable paper receipts in the November and March elections, and the Secretary of State is considering requiring them statewide. I think that would be a good first step. However, I’ve been having nightmares over how a bad user interface on a touch-screen voting machine could make the notorious Florida butterfly ballot seem simple and straightforward by comparison. So I was glad to see that in this respect, at least, they did okay.