Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Touch This Screen

Touch This Screen

About 8:45 this morning at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, I had my first encounter with a Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machine, courtesy of the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis.

It wasn't as bad as I had feared. After signing in, a poll worker gave me a control card to insert into the machine. Then I simply followed the on-screen instructions and pressed the active areas of the screen as appropriate.

I was able to print out my ballot results, but the printout was behind a plastic cover and then a clear plastic screen. I didn't quite get that at first; but I guess that's the "paper record" everybody talks about. However, I didn't get a copy to keep for myself; it just looped back into the machine.

I was generally satisfied, although I wish there were some taller screens on the sides of the machine. I felt like anybody could stand behind me or next to me and see how I was voting. At least with the old punch-card voting booths, I felt like I had a little more privacy, even if I wasn't actually behind a curtain.

Touch-screen seems like the better option than optical scan. If I want to fill in bubbles, I'll go back to high school and take the MMAT!


Michael Allen said...

At my polling place in Ward 5, there was one touch-screen machine and it was not working. So I had to fill in ovals with an ink pen!

Bill said...

Ward 9 voting at Booth Manor was great. I agree with Joe that the sides could be higher.

As it was my first time, I probably took a bit longer to vote than I will the next time. One gets used to the little "ice pick" and punching holes.

I do think that the more "elderly" citizens might take longer to adapt as it is a touch screen, BUT..the size of the font was larger and very easy to read. As a matter of fact, while not overly young, I had to step back about 1/2 step for a better perspective.

I to asked about the printed copy. I thought maybe I'd have to take the printout and insert it in the box next to the machine. I realized that the printout is the paper copy and stays inside the electronic machine.

The box next to the machine was for the "bubble" ballots.

Lastly, this was a low turnout of voters. I would say that moving forward, the polls need at least 4-6 more machines for each Ward. Otherwise, voters will be standing in lines AGAIN like they did years ago before the current punch system had the bugs worked out.