Undervoting and Elderly

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Jul 13 2004 - 23:47:24 CDT

A florida paper did an undervoting study by sampling from 350,000 ballots in which only a single race was present.

Some interesting results. undervoting on optical scan was 10x lower than touch screen. However both were lower than the numbers reported by the caltech/MIT reports.

They also brought up an interesting point: elderly have a harder time with touch screens. They mention one woman voting prematurely.

Okay so here is the discussion topic: First, there is a lot of focus on the blind in OVC discussion, but in fact there are many more elderly voters than blind voters. Second, while in principle touchscreens can dramatically reduce undervotes by having an "are you sure?" dialog before casting the ballot in practice this is apparenly never used because it adds complications and hassle.

So perhaps one shoul dthink about how to help the elderly vote. One thought is this. at the beginning of the voting session you could offer the voter a choice "1) i'm a novice, help me 2) just let me vote, clippy".

in novice mode errors get flagged and the user hassled by dialog messages. also perhaps the screen geometry adjusts a bit to have a help-bar along the side. Access to large type mode is made more obvious and easy. Perhaps the user is forced to scroll through the whole screen before voting to prevent overlooked choices when in large type mode. Perhaps there are more audio cues, "you must select three choicies on this screen, old timer". perhaps even obnoxious clippy pop ups if the machine senses the voter is strugglying. Basically a more drawn-out, perhaps even painful to the expert, but sure process.

in expert mode, little used features are subdued for the sake of enhance information concentration and clarity of presentation. user is allowed to do possily dumb things like going into large type mode but not scolling whole screen, under voting, prematurely ending voting session.

Any thoughts?

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Received on Sat Jul 31 23:17:04 2004

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