Disabled voters in Oregon will nominate their next representative in congress with the tap of a finger.
The state is launching the first iPad voting scheme in the U.S. as it goes to the polls tomorrow to replace ex-Representative David Wu, who left amid allegations of sex with a minor.
Election workers will take the iPads to disabled voters who might otherwise have difficulties marking their ballots, the AP wrote.
It will still be a long way from paperless, electronic voting – think of it more as computer-assisted voting. Voters will tap on the iPad screen to choose a candidate, then print out the ballot and send the ballot in through snail mail.
State elections director Steve Trout told Politico that they gave the iPad the thumbs up after also testing candidates including an Android tablet a Windows-based tablet, the Lenovo Thinkpad and a regular laptop.
All of the vendors were willing to donate the devices. In the end, they went with five iPads donated by Apple. The state then paid $75,000 to develop voting software.
“Apple was by far the easiest and most effective for assisting people that have accessibility needs. And that was part of the goal of our test pilot, to find out which devices were most effective,” Trout said.
If the trial run is successful tomorrow and in general elections in January, it will become a regular service for disabled voters in Oregon.
Pretty cool, huh? In Virginia, before I could move easily, a poll worker once brought a tablet to my car so I could vote. It got the job done, but it was a klunky and awkward device. iPads would be much less single-purpose and would probably be much less expensive. And since Oregon is actually taking the device to nursing homes and other places, it could increase participation.
Also heard on NPR this morning.
Much later in the day, Mashable contributed this op-ed on voting by smartphone.