Concept: Marking the Ballot

Separate the front-end display from the back-end system

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Marking the Ballot concept poster

Presentation poster for the Marking the Ballot concept


About this concept

The text that follows describes the concept presentation poster

A system where the ballot is accessible should provide many of the modes (keyboard, touch screen, voice) to accommodate people with different abilities. It is accessed:

  • on various platforms
  • from anywhere
  • from trustable sources

A diagram shows a trusted source for the ballot definition leading to a variety of devices: a personal computer for download, a printer, a mail-in envelope, tablet app, and a traditional voting booth.

A second diagram  shows all of the devices surrounding an image of a ballot. Some of the images are matched to one of the workshop voter personas:

  • Charlie, who is uncomfortable in crowds, votes remotely  by phone
  • Tasha, who is blind and uses a computer independently, votes remotely by marking and printing out the ballot
  • Angela, who has quadriplegia from spinal cord injury, uses an accessible tablet
The ballot sketch includes several features:
  • A way to search for candidates
  • Images of the candidates
  • Audio/voice output
  • Color coding to identify matches from search
  • Voice input
The strengths of this concept for accessible elections are:
  • Many modes to accommodate people with different abilities
  • The ballot offers preferences for language options
  • The instructions are provided in visual and audio form
  • Voters can find selections by filtering by first letter
  • Voters can fast-forward though the audio interface.

Additional sketches for this concept

The team suggested steps in the process of voting and used them to organize their brainstorming:

  • Learn (about the election)
  • Get (the ballot)
  • (Read) Instructions
  • Vote/Make selections
  • Review (the ballot)
  • Confirm (choices)
  • Cast/Vote (the ballot)

The ballot can be marked in many different ways, but all ballots are submitted to the same voting system for casting and counting.

A diagram shows many options for marking the ballot (Braille, keyboard, audio, AT, USB ports, PC/Mac or table). All feed into one voting system

A bar code on the printed ballot is used to read the ballot when it is cast. This makes it quick to cast a ballot that has been pre-marked

The ballot includes instruction in audio and video format. LInks allow video chat with a support staff.

Video instruction sketch

The idea of plain language on the ballot got a lot of attention when the workshop marked the concepts of most interest.

Plain language: easy to understand for everyone (cognitive) - no terminology, not legal, complex

Three sketches of a wizard to allow voters to customize different aspects of the ballot display including the language, images or icons, font sizes, audio output.

Wizard: What would you like to have on your ballot: audio, images, large font, language   Wizard: What would you like to have on your ballot: audio interface, images and icons, large font and buttons, language choice, other options   Wizard: What would you like to display on your ballot: language choice, image or color, audio, font size



This concept was created at the Accessible Elections Design Workshop in February 2012