A few weeks after a primary election riddled with polling-day issues, Los Angeles County officials announced they’ve completed the first phase of a major planned overhaul of the county’s voting system. County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan envisions a future system in which, instead of being directed to designated polling stations on a single Tuesday, voters will be able to choose from hundreds of voting centers around the county during a 10-day window leading up to election day. There, instead of marking their selections with pen and paper, they will enter their selections on touch-screen ballot-marking devices, print out a paper ballot to review their selections, and feed the ballot back into the machine to be stored and counted. The county began exploring a redesign of the system in 2009. In 2014, the county Board of Supervisors approved a $15-million contract with the Bay Area design firm IDEO. The planning and design process has cost $14 million to date, Logan said.
Elections officials unveiled the completed prototype of the new voting machines Thursday. The devices were the product of dozens of earlier prototypes and feedback from more than 3,500 voters, designers said. “We really took a step back and tried to take a holistic view to understand wishes, desires, pain points in the voting system today,” said IDEO executive program director Annetta Papadopoulos. “We focused on the diversity of voters that make up Los Angeles, people with all kinds of accessibility challenges, be it fine motor, visual, people with different native languages and different levels of literacy.”
Many voters complained of pain points in the system after the June 7 election. These included broken voting machines, voters whose names did not appear on rosters or appeared under the wrong party, and difficulty in obtaining “cross-over” ballots for independent voters who wanted to cast votes in the Democratic party presidential primary.
More than 250,000 voters had to cast provisional ballots, and the count of provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots has continued through this week. Logan said had the new system been in place, “I would argue … it would have been a fundamentally different voting experience on June 7.”
Full Article: Touchscreen ballots and a choice in polling stations could be the future of voting in L.A. County – LA Times.