RE: Ballot Design Hogwash

Subject: RE: Ballot Design Hogwash
From: Eilene Heckman <eilene_heckman -at- cleanair -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 12:51:20 -0600

I'm a rather infrequent poster-- feel free to ignore me. :)

As one of the voters in Cook County, Illinois, where we also have 'fan
style' voting ballots-- I went through TWO ballots on Tuesday. (I double
punched.) I always write down the judges I want to vote for and the ones I
DON'T want to vote for on a slip of paper to help me keep track of
everyone-- my mistakes were purely mechanical-- the holes were small, the
book shaky, and the colors were hard to focus on. (Black type on yellow)
I'm young, college educated and have good eyesight-- I STILL SCREWED UP...

I only knew that you could ask for a new ballot because my mother was a
polling judge in the 80's, and I spent most election days doing my homework
at the polling place because she couldn't find a babysitter. Back then you
got 'voting directions' before you were handed your ballot. "Punch one hole
per candidate, everything you bring into the booth must come out with you,
if you think you punched a candidate in error, ask a polling judge for a new
ballot, etc." Mom was hoarse by the end of the day. I've voted in three
presidential elections and was never given any instruction on how to use the
polling booth-- and was never offered any.

If people are saying they had trouble with their ballot-- I'm willing to
believe them. Vision-impaired, illiterate, elderly, and handicapped people
have as much right to participate in our election process as anyone else--
maybe more so. Usability is the discussion here...

Eilene H.

eilene_heckman -at- cleanair -dot- com
Clean Air Engineering
Palatine, IL

Someone Said:

7. There were 19,000+ ballots thrown out in Palm Beach
because they had holes punched for two presidential
candidates. 16,000 votes were thrown out in 1996.
Presumably, this is done by people who make a
mistake, and think they can rectify it by punching
another hole for the candidate they intended to vote
for. I'd argue that anyone simple-minded enough to
think this is the right way to do it is not qualified to
vote. Everyone knows that you are entitled to a new
ballot when you make a mistake, and certainly
elderly people who have voted many times during
their lifetime should know that, assuming they are
still mentally competent.

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