Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Coming Soon: Express Vote XL Demos
This machine is called the ExpressVote XL. The XL just means it's big, with a 32" inch ... screen. Size matters, you know. A group of election judges, including myself, and county workers were trained on them yesterday in the cavernous Gracedale warehouse. .
Like the current system, this will also have a privacy curtain so no one can see how you vote. Unlike the current system, this touchscreen has several features that will assist you in making voting much easier.
The write-in option, which usually stymies most voters, is a snap, as easy as typing your name.
Although it's highly unlikely you'll have any trouble reading a 32" screen, there are built-in features for those who do. Not everyone is perfect like me. You can enlarge the text size, which will take you through each race individually. You can then switch back if you want. If you are suffering from macular degeneration, you might have trouble reading a colored screen. You can change the contrast to black-and-white. And for the first time, I've seen a machine that really goes out of its way to accommodate people who are completely blind or may even be paralyzed from the neck down. Each voting precinct will have a large rectangular box enabling a physically challenged voter to make his or her choices. I was concerned this could slow things down but was told it's amazingly fast.
In most touchscreens, a machine operator will activate the machine. The ExpressVote XL is already active. It becomes operational when you insert the ballot - a blank piece of thermal paper - handed to you by a poll worker.
Can the ballot get stuck or refuse to load? I tried everything yesterday. I crumbled it up and tossed it to a fellow student. He stomped on it. We handed it back to our teacher, sure it would fail. He smiled and ripped it. The ballot still loaded. A vote could still be cast.
No ballot has been so messed up that it's been rejected, but that's for elections in Jersey and Delaware. We Pennsylvanians are a lot sloppier.
Once the voter makes his choices, his printed ballot will pop up under a glass screen on the right side of the machine. If satisfied, the voter can cast the ballot, which then goes into the sealed ballot box. If not satisfied, he can quit and the ballot will be ejected and handed to a poll worker as a "spoiled ballot."
You get three tries. Then, like in baseball, you're out. But unlike baseball, you still have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
At the end of the night, when the polls close, the votes will be transferred to an encrypted flash drive. They will also still be on the machine. And the sealed ballot box will be opened and scanned during the canvass process. Any number of scanners have been used, and the paper ballots always match the totals on he flash drive and machine.
I believe you'll like the new system.