America has had problems with voter turnout, but now Oregon is trying to help close that gap by letting its residents vote by iPad. This, my friends, is no time to play Angry Birds with Herman Cain.
Disabled voters in five Oregon counties are getting a serious taste of the future as officials integrate the devices into local elections. Apple donated five iPads to test out the program, while the state shelled out $72,000 to develop the special voting software.
With an iPad in tow, county election workers are going door-to-door to any place where voters might have trouble filling out traditional ballots. In many ways, it is becoming an ideal device—voters will be able to adjust font sizes, screen colors, and even have the candidates’ names read out to them. For those who have limited mobility, a controller called a “sip-and-puff” can also be attached to manipulate the screen.
Voters can then print out their completed ballots, and drop them in the mail or an official ballot box. The state plans to reuse the system when the special general election in January is held. A complete statewide rollout is possible if the project takes off.
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According to the Associated Press, Oregon’s current voting tools for the disabled are nearing the end of their shelf life, and are often cumbersome to lug around. It’s also expensive—in the past two years, Oregon has spent over $325,000 maintaining the devices. However, if the state was to roll out the iPad program, it would only cost the government $36,000 for the tablets.
[via Associated Press]