Oregon the first to use iPad for touch-screen voting
Oregon launched a pilot program Tuesday that allows senior voters and those with disabilities to cast a vote using the iPad.
November 8th, 2011
02:31 PM ET

Oregon the first to use iPad for touch-screen voting

Oregon on Tuesday became the first state in the nation to use the iPad in the election process, allowing citizens in five counties to vote using the touch-screen tablet.

Although voting apps have popped up recently in the mobile phone market, Oregon is believed to have the first state program to offer the technology to some of its residents, according to election officials.

The pilot program allows senior citizens and voters with disabilities to use the sleek Apple interface to access a touch-screen ballot, adjust text size and color if necessary, and select their candidate by typing or by filling in “the bubbles with a pen,” State Elections Director Steve Trout told CNN on Tuesday.

It's all about convenience, Trout said, and making sure that voters with limited mobility can put their constitutional rights into practice.

And because it is less expensive than the system the state was using, the program saves dollars while it makes sense, he said.

“In government, it’s all about trying to do more with less,” Trout said.

Tuesday’s vote was a special primary to replace former U.S. Rep. David Wu, who stepped down in August amid a sex scandal.

“We thought it was a good, smaller-scale election to test something like this,” Trout said.

And though it’s way cool, voting via iPad could also be a psychological boon for senior citizens, according to Jerry Cohen, a spokesman for the Oregon AARP.

“Oregon has a much higher percentage of people 65 and older that use computers, so yes, I think there’s a very keen interest and a growing interest in technology from seniors in this state,” Cohen said.

“For our disabled voters that want to vote independently and have always wanted to do so, this is the outreach program to help them,” said Pam Benham, elections supervisor for Columbia County, where the pilot program was in use. Along with the iPad, a portable printer is used to turn the ballot into a hard copy that can be mailed, she said.

“We plan to be out at the senior centers in the short term. But as we get it up and going, we should be able to go back to the voter's home,” Benham said. “It’s going to take some coordination, and we’ll have to have the staff to go out and do that, but that’s the goal. It probably won’t happen until after January, though,” she said.

At the beginning of the year, the state will hold a general election. "We plan to utilize some of what we learn and actually put it to use in then,” Trout said.

What’s next? Hanging iChads?

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Filed under: Oregon • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. bruce campbell

    Al lot better than what we have to use in volusia county florida.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • **** http://www.kapipal.com/newhtc ****

      could it recognize and memorize the voters tracking their unique gestures???

      November 9, 2011 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • David Hayden

      Vote Verification and Confirmation System

      The cornerstone of democracy is the cast ballot which indicates the will of the people. Rumors of voter fraud, actual voter fraud, and vote counting irregularities is one of the greatest threats to democracy. Protection of the cast ballot is tantamount in our modern elected governments.

      A system to protect the vote of the people is imperative. The vote verification system consists of a fail proof system of checks and balances.

      The Protected Ballot
      Published Precinct Results
      Digital Verification

      The Protected Ballot
      Every ballot from a Verified Voting System will be printed with a unique verification number. Included in each ballot verification number is a precinct code. Each precinct will be provided with allotted amount of ballots that matches the number of registered voters in the precinct or matches the population of the precinct. Each ballot will have either carbon copy verification receipt, or the voting machine could print a verification receipt.
      Published Precinct Results
      In each city or town, all of votes cast in each precinct will be published in the local newspaper. Any voter will be able to verify results of their area by simply tallying up the votes in their own precinct. Vote fraud will become more difficult because the voters in a specific precinct can come together to check the verification receipts of their cast ballots. Any voting anomalies will be detectable by the voters themselves.
      Digital Verification
      Another feature that could be used to protect the vote would be a digital verification system for the paper ballot. This feature would be in addition to the paper ballot with published results in the newspaper. Digital verification should never do away with the paper ballot or a paper verification reciept. When a ballot is cast with a electronic voting machine, a scan-able vote will be printed. Human vote counters will use scanning technology to count the votes. A web camera will be monitoring every vote counter from every precinct. Any voter will be able to go on the Internet and watch the vote counters from any precinct counting votes. When each vote is scanned the verification number and the way the vote was cast will be instantly uploaded to the Internet and will appear in a column adjacent to the video of the vote counter. Each voter could also be provided with a unique password which could be used to "verify" that their vote indeed matches the way their vote was cast. Any large blocks of unverified votes could be called into question.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    Bruce! Army of Darkness! Evil Dead! Dude! Sam!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. grayguru

    This system will save the state money while making it more convenient for seniors and disabled. My guess is they are leading the nation in this technology. Way to go Oregon!

    November 9, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Body Mass Index (BMI)

    @grayguru. "My guess is they are leading the nation in this technology" you say? You in fact did read the headline to this blog, you even clicked on it. Headline: Oregon the first to use iPad for touch-screen voting. You, sir, are among the 1/4th of adult Americans who can no longer comprehend information written in simple text form. (according to the National Adult Literacy Survey 2002-2006, a survey costing 14 million dollars to conduct)

    You, like most adult Americans, can comprehend videos such as make believe movies and world news reports. But you cannot recall the history of nations while you can remember Lord of the Rings word for word. It's called 'selective memory' if you care to google it. hagd

    November 9, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI)

    Who would like to see millions of 'grayguru's voting at the next election? "der, do I circle the box? Mom ! Sissy didn't flush her bloody iPad again" lmao

    November 9, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mass Hysteria

    We'd really like you to stop attacking people, that's what we'd really like. Your BMI must stand for something else, cuz you're really FOS.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. youtibe

    Helpful info. Lucky me I found your site accidentally, and I am shocked why this twist of fate did not took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

    September 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
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