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. Andreas Moser

    Better than not voting at all.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry C RI @ SJ

    Sure wish Apple didn't outsource. I'd be happier if the money Apple is going to make stayed here.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry C RI

    Forgot to change name.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yuki tzuzakiMan

    That is really cool


    November 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mentally challenged should vote?

    Even a mentally retarded 18 yr. old can handle an iPad. Are you sure that you want everyone to vote? If it even cost just 19.95 to vote, how many would decline or seek government assistance to come up with the 20 bucks? Yeah, good idea...let's have old ladies abandoned by their families and living in old age homes deciding for US. What next? Giving pregnant 18 yr. olds an iPad to vote with while in the middle of having an potential citizen executed? Wait! Give the churches where people goto vote free iPads! No, that would violate seperation of church and state. nm

    November 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. God

    let everyone vote over the internet and see what happens to washington.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. VeeJay

    Um, I was under the impression that only a court can decide if a person is mentally incompetent to vote. Don't know what your angle is here, but it's ugly.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    "Kinda looks like the first step towards finding a way to "rig" an election."

    November 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George Patton

    I think this is a good idea as long as the left wing thugs don't try what they did in Russia, ie, outlaw all opposition. Yes, I have been a moron to everyone lately. I have been so stupid to think that left wing nuts have all the answers. I sincerely apologize to everyone whose SN I have hijacked over the past few months (or were it years). It is envy, after all. I am envious of everyone who is more intelligent than I am. I get frustrated, and keep using words like "right-wing-thugs-in-Washington" and keep repeating "as-the-real(fill in space)-here" because I lack the imagination to think of anything else to say. I admit, you are all better than me.

    November 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. a

    Schools r geting ipads. will thay be voting Too?

    November 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @VeeJay: in most states, that's correct.
    Except the one voting on the conception amen dment.
    They hide theirs in an attic.

    November 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. drap

    Ah Mr Knight..when will new chips for our Nikes be available... .?

    November 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. s kel

    I see new voting fraud....

    November 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Hi, s kel.
    However, no more hanging chads...

    November 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LGF

    VeeJay and banasy©, you are both correct. The mentally challenged (ie Down's Syndrome, some forms of autism) are a part of the voting community at the age of 18, the same as the rest of us, if we exercise that right. The court may deem a person incompetent, but for the most part, the mainstreamed challenged are encouraged to vote.

    Good joke, banasy©.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
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