Editorials: Designing better ballots | Michael Byrne/Te Conversation

Election Day 2017 seems to have gone smoothly. There were few contests of major consequence and turnout was low – with Virginia the most notable exception. Election integrity – the extent to which the outcome of the election matches the will of the voters – was not an issue in the news. Things could, however, be different in 2018. Concern over election integrity could become amplified if turnout is high and margins close. Given the stakes in the 2018 midterms – now less than a year away – and other concerns such as widespread reports about Russian hacking, now is the time when election officials must begin the critical work of ensuring the integrity of the vote. When most people think about threats to election integrity, security and fraud are the primary concerns. For example, were the ballots or the election totals hacked? Were ballot boxes stuffed? Were there ballots cast by people who were not eligible to vote?

However, there is another threat to election integrity that has received increasing attention from election officials and researchers like me over the past dozen or so years: voting system usability. That is, does what actually gets recorded on to the ballots accurately reflect the will of the voters?

All the security in the world means little if ballots are inaccurate.

But how could what’s on the ballots themselves be wrong?

Full Article: Designing better ballots.

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