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eVoting thoughts
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 13:32:03 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Peter Jensen <peter () peterjensen com>
Date: November 7, 2006 1:11:36 PM EST
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: eVoting thoughts

I had my first experience with electronic voting machines today, and it
left me wondering whether my vote had been counted, who the machine
thought I voted for, etc.

I've worked in multimedia, the web, and interactive systems for several
decades, so my comments come from that experience.

First - no feedback.  Was my vote counted?  No indication at all.  In
the old voting machines, the curtain would open when you moved the
handle, and at least that provided *some* indication that something was
going on.  In these new systems, at least the one I used, there is
absolutely no feedback.  The quiet is eerie.

Second - who did I vote for?  There's no indication that the candidates
I voted for were the ones the machine registered.  It's just stupid not
to have some indication of this.  Normal interactive procedure is to
provide confirmation of your choices *before* you complete an
interactive task.  Apparently the designers felt that the light beside
your candidate was enough feedback.  Call me stoopid, but it sure left
me wondering.

We've learned a lot in a few decades about good interactive design.
Apparently the people who created these systems were not aware of this
body of knowledge.

Peter Jensen

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