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EZ Ballot -- updated!

Which ballot would you choose if you had EZ or Quick ballot? This ballot structure of the EZ ballot works same way for all outputs regardless of modality.

Photo of Tina Lee
20 19

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What if the ballot is designed for whatever pace the voter prefers? EZ ballot is a system that will guide voters so that they just follow the steps. Quick ballot helps voters walk through the system if they want to complete the voting process quickly. This concept is for the design of the EZ ballot.

Current user interfaces on touch screens rely significantly on visual feedback. Using audio voting, voters who are blind or visually impaired are able to vote. However, the translation from a complex visual interface to a linear audio interface results in an complex and time consuming audio voting process. Moreover, current DRE systems allow only for visual or audio voting even though studies show that people with low vision would prefer to be able to use both visual and audio voting simultaneously.

EZ ballot is very simple with linear layout of the visual and auditory interfaces. Thus, this ballot structure works same way for all outputs regardless of modality. For example, instead of providing all the candidates’ names in one screen, ‘yes or no’ questions such as “Do you want to vote ……?” will be displayed. In this way, voters need to choose either “yes” or “no.”

As a voting device, the touch screen tablet is combined with just two buttons ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on the left and right sides like controlling a game boy. This integrated device design will match with the users’ interaction for using the EZ ballot.

How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?

Choices of EZ or Quick ballot will allow whatever pace the voters who have different abilities prefer. Older adults, individuals who are visually impaired, and people who have memory issues can benefit from this EZ ballot design.
Instead of connecting additional dual switches to the voting device, a single integrated device can also benefit poll workers as well as the voters.

My Virtual Team

Yilin Liu
Xiao Xiong
Jon Sanford
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Attachments (3)


EZ ballot screen images


EZ ballot screen images


EZ ballot screen images


Join the conversation:

Photo of Edmund

This is an interesting concept and the interface looks really great. I'm just not a fan of voting machines as they have been involved in too many voting frauds. While this is a great concept, it just makes the voting rigging much more easier when you're able to convince the mass public to go to vote at voting machines with ease. -

Edmund Ng

Photo of Ann

Good idea Tina and I like the explanation through the video. This definitely broke it down and made it pretty simple to understand and the viewer was able to see the process in action. Great work.

Photo of Steve

This is an interesting interface for an "electronic pencil". That is, after the voter has made all of her choices, a nearby printer should print out the actual ballot-of-record, for the voter to verify and then deposit into a secure ballot box. But without a paper ballot-of-record, this suffers from all of the defects of paperless voting.

Photo of Whitney

Hi Tina, Yilin, Xiao and Jon, This is a great start at a really difficult problem. Finding a way to make the voting interaction work well in a linear interaction would be a big step forward, especially on some of the long US ballots. Lots of areas to explore.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Tina's canny EZ Ballot concept was a winner on our Voting Challenge Challenge. Her prototype video & visualisations were a brilliant additions to the Realisation phase. Rock on Tina!

Photo of Paul

Well done Tina - the simple and intuitive approach has such advantages for providing interaction with ballots for all circumstances (including our proportional systems here in Australia). Like Andrew Baranak's Ipad idea Its portability makes it ideal for a variety of situations, including both potential voting vans but also conventional curbside voting. I'm sorry it was so difficult for me to do justice to collaborating across all concepts in the refinement phase.
I am looking forward to updates of progress during realisation.

Photo of Ashley

Tina, what a great video you put together! Nice job refining your concept here.

Photo of Ting-Han

Tina, I can clearly visualize how EZ Ballot enables people to vote from anywhere. As Priyanka mentioned in her "Voting Vans" concept, the EZ Ballot could be used at a designated polling station (such as a voting van) and it could also be carried anywhere to help those who couldn't easily visit the polling station.
I am also impressed by EZ Ballot's intuitive interface. Whenever a machine asks me a yes/no question (for instance, "Do you want to delete this photo?"), I always find myself responding to the questions quickly...sometimes even unconsciously selecting the wrong choice. Maybe the EZ Ballot could have some designs to prevent people from making their choices too fast? Such as freezing the yes/no function for 10 seconds to ensure each voter took some time to understand the questions being asked?

Photo of Whitney

Tina, I like the way you have simplified the voting process - it's one that might work well for audio ballots or for single-switch interaction.

But, I wonder about unintended consequences of breaking one contest up into multiple screens (one screen per candidate).

There is a lot of documentation of the impact of order within a contest giving advantage to the first names listed. (That's why almost all states have a formula for determining order or rules for rotating names on the ballot.) How would you make sure that voters were aware of all of the choices in each contest?

Once the voter made a choice, would they see the other candidates, or would the system just skip ahead to the next contest?

Photo of Tina

Whitney, Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
I've been thinking about how voters will be made aware of all the choices in each contest in this concept.

What if we have the first introductory screen that displays all the candidates’ names visually and with audio before they select their vote? For example, the screen will speak “we have A, B, C, D, E for president. You are allowed to have only one vote. Please hit the next button on the right side of tablet when you are ready to vote” This first screen should be a requirement for voters to see and/or hear all of the candidate options first.

Then, when the voter has made a choice, the system would move to the next contest. However, before finally casting all their votes, the system would display and read out a review page so that voters can confirm or their choices, or change them if they wish.

Photo of James

I think this problem is solvable from my reading of the concept.

The screen may say "your choices for President are D,B,A,E, and C"

The next screen will then say, "Do you want to vote for D"

"Do you want to vote for B...?"


I say that, though I am fairly sure that some states require that all the candidates for a particular office have to appear on the same page.

Photo of Chris

This seems like a great solution. Simplifying the process makes it super simple for most people to access. By combining audio and visual feedback to the user, you are basically ensuring accessibility. Where exactly would these stations be? At current poll stations?

Photo of Name

The idea is great, I can clearly visualize a simple voting system like this that works for all.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this post joining our Top 20 shortlist Tina! We appreciated how streamlined and intuitive your concept is, and we loved your sketches!

During this Refinement phase, let's think about ways to incorporate some of the great feedback and questions that folks have shared below. There's lots more room for iteration and development, and we're excited to see what you come up with. For more information on specific ways to iterate and update your concept, check and

Photo of Daniel

Tina, what an impressive concept! I like how you are thinking about providing voters different options depending on their needs and making it simpler. The two-button input voting system and the simpler screen might also be useful for voting applications on a mobile device.

I'd like to know what you are thinking about doing for contest selection. For example, will the system go through each candidate and each race? Or will the system prompt the user for the race first, e.g. "Do you want to vote for president?" Each has different benefits and limitations.

Photo of Paul

Very intuitive concept Tina!
This could also be implemented on current touch screens by devoting areas on left and right as the yes no buttons.

Photo of Whitney

The nice thing about real buttons is that they are tactile and provide affordance that screens don't have. One of the other concepts suggested that a standard tablet could be adapted for the more limited interactions of elections by putting it into a case. For example, hiding the "home" button on an iPad, or making a tactile button that mimicks a touch point.

Photo of Whitney

Found the other concept that shows a hardware adjustment to limit a general-purpose device to voting functions: iPad Absentee Voting

Photo of Paul

Yes you are right about the tactile aspects of real buttons Whitney and I do like this concept on that basis. I was thinking of the Ipad Absentee Voting as the other option.

Photo of Paul

Would a third button be confusing. I was thinking that the original could be "Next" and "Previous" with a third "Yes/Select" and No would be default without need for button.