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Los Angeles County

Enabling democracy

Brief

Los Angeles (LA) County is reimagining the voting experience for its 4.8 million voters.

Part of this vision is a ballot-marking device (BMD) that is accessible to all – by using a voter-centred approach to design an intuitive and easy experience.

California law requires the BMD to be paper-based, with votes counted centrally. Marking up to 50 choices is difficult and time consuming for anyone – but particularly challenging for people with sight, dexterity or language difficulties.

Approach

Working together with IDEO and Digital Foundry, we helped shape the electromechanical system at the heart of the BMD – which prints, verifies and stores the ballots and allows the user to interact via touchscreen, audio, keypad or by scanning a QR code from a mobile.

Using systems engineering and our skills in paper handling, we delivered a robust, secure and modular design.

It allows the BMD to meet the human-centred design requirements of LA County – now and for years to come.

Benefit

This accessible voting project is all about designing a product to suit the needs of the user.

The design team has received exceedingly positive feedback from voter trials – and has found it incredibly gratifying to see the effect the work has had on various groups of voters.

LA County is moving towards a new era of truly accessible voting for all. By 2020, its citizens should be exercising their right to vote with the future-proof system, regardless of age, ability or language.