Here's how this idea came about:
Alisa was really excited about the idea of customer service - after reading through the personas, she thought it was clear that many of the people on the list sounded like they could use a little extra assistance, attention, time or flexibility to meet their voting needs.
This made Yusuke think of the help/information desks you often see at hospitals, hotels, or other service businesses. Might poll workers start thinking of themselves like customer service agents?
One of Brian's builds on this was to suggest that people who need some extra time or who have special voting needs could come in to vote a day early. It's less frenetic that way and might be better suited to people who'd like a bit more time and/or assistance. It also would help the poll workers (aka: customer service agents) assist voters individually and tailor the voting options to each voter's needs. In this way, everyone's less rushed, more comfortable, and feels like they're working together to accomplish something important.
Then it hit us: what if going to the polls was like making an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar? What if you could sign up in advance for a voting time slot, either online, by phone, or even by mail - and get a confirmation that "you'll be meeting John at 10am for your personalized voting appointment."
And when you got the polling place, what if there was a comfortable waiting area/lounge for you to hang out, read some materials about your accessible voting options, and when John was ready, he could come greet you in the lounge and discuss your voting needs? He could then help you decide which voting method (paper ballot, audio booth, braille ballot, etc) that would best suit your needs, as well as prepare the voting booth with the appropriate assistive technologies.
By reframing the roll of the poll worker to focus on customer service, it makes it ok for everyone to share how they need help with their vote. It does mean asking for help, which can be interpreted as the opposite of an independent voting experience. But we embraced the idea that being able to honestly state what you need as a voter and then having a calm, confident and confidential customer service agent prepare the voting booth to fit your needs is actually just as independent an experience as any other customer service interaction.