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Los Angeles County

Enabling democracy


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.


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.


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.