Whether it's self-driving cars or the Internet of Things, the fruits of innovation seem to be everywhere you look--except in voting booths, which rely on decades-old technology. Might that be a reason only 36 percent of registered voters in 2014 actually voted?
IDEO, the renowned global design firm, has been applying its collective talents to this challenge for the last two years. Specifically, the firm is working with Los Angeles County--the most populous county in the U.S., with more than 5 million registered voters--on a solution, as Carter Evans reported earlier today on CBS This Morning. Los Angeles County has used the same voting booths since 1968.
What does the new ballot box look like? For starters, it's a tablet with a touch screen. What's more, it runs on software that can be upgraded over time. Simple as those features sound given what's at the fingertips of contemporary consumers, they represent a marked advancement over current voting technology.
While most voting jurisdictions migrated to digital systems after the 2000 "hanging chad" election, that migration is now 15 years old. It predates the first iPhone, Evans notes, and lacks the technology--so rudimentary to most cell phone users--to revise and upgrade itself via newly released updates.
In the televised segment, you'll see Blaise Bertrand, IDEO Industrial Design Director, observing and sketching the behavior of voters with a pen and notebook. You'll also see a voter telling Evans that the system is "self-explanatory." The machines work in multiple languages, and they are designed to be accessible for those with visual or hearing impairments or physical limitations.
What's more, there are ways you can vote at home, print out a bar code, and scan it in at the booth in the same way you would a boarding pass. For security, each voter receives a paper printout confirming his or her choices--allowing you, as a voter, a final verification before your vote is formally cast.
IDEO and Los Angeles County are still finalizing the design of the machines. They hope to start using them on a trial basis in 2018. If all goes well, perhaps more voters will actually vote. "I know that if we design an experience well, it will fundamentally change the way we act and behave in society," says Bertrand, toward the end of the segment.
Here's the four-minute segment, in its entirety.