Confusion Looms As Factor That Could Bedevil November 7 Election
“Hanging chads” on punch card ballots in Florida made the 2000 United States election such a debacle that a federal law was passed in 2002 requiring jurisdictions nationwide to replace punch-card voting systems. More than a third of the nation’s 8,000 voting jurisdictions will use new voting technology for the first time in 2007, according to Election Data Services. In July, months ahead of the November 7 election, the replacements and new rules are in the news because they have the potential to precipitate another polling debacle.
The issue that crops up in many of these news stories is confusion. Ergonomics has a role to play in resolving a problem like this, and some election authorities are taking measures that show awareness of some of its precepts.
The Kansas City Star reported in July that the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners has chosen a simple replacement, mainly to avoid confusing voters and poll workers. Under the new system, called InkaVote, ballots no longer have chads that need to be punched out. Instead, voters use an ink stylus to make marks beside their choices. The ballots then are read and tabulated electronically.
The co-director of the Board, Charlene Davis, said that Los Angeles is the only other place where InkaVote is used and that during the Los Angeles
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