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Online CheckIn - Applied to Voting to Enable Rapid Voting

Just as Southwest Airlines began letting customers skip much of the ticket registration process, so might local election boards improve the process by allowing voters to pre-print and fill out their ballots prior to entering the voting booth.

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Written by DeletedUser

Long lines at polling places on election day depresses turnout for everyone and disproportionately adversely affects handicapped voters. A more rapid voting process would benefit everyone, especially the handicapped. 

 Let voters pre-print a ballot online (or get one at a local library, etc.) which they can mark up prior to election day and then cast on election day in a fraction of the time.  In time (as more voters used the system) this would allow for a much more rapid voting process without sacrificing the reliability and accountability of modern paper ballots.


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I think this concept is really compelling, Andy. One thing to consider as it moves forward is weighing the pros and cons of actually printing a final ballot at home, or simply completing the ballot at home and printing out something like a barcode or QR code to bring to the polling place that prints an official ballot for review when you arrive in person and scan your code.

Even easier for some might be being provided with a QR code on a mobile device for scanning at the polling place, instead of being required to print anything. The latest mobile-based airline boarding passes are a great example of this. Here's a quick image example in case people aren't familiar with this technology:

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Great analogy.

One of the teams at one of our recent workshops came up with a similar concept. Not only would it help reduce lines at the polls, but it would be a real benefit for many people. If you don't work quickly, don't like being in crowds, need extra time to make decisions, or interact with the ballot, being able to mark your ballot in your own time would be great. As Vincent points out, this still means that you actually cast your ballot at a polling place, where you can be checked against the register.

This is one of many great inspirations that could be fleshed out into a strong concept.

Photo of Vincent Cheng

Intriguing process redesign to alleviate this polling line bottleneck, and ensure people don't feel time/peer pressured while deciding on their votes! And identification security is still maintained at the point of ballot acceptance, rather than ballot handout.

There could be an issue of the desired ballot type (such as special paper) not being easily printable at home. However, you could also imagine these ballots (and maybe special machines if necessary) being available at public places like post offices and libraries, or even ballots being sent to everyone's mailbox.

Hoping to see your inspiration get fleshed out during concepting ;)

Photo of Paul Reader

Interesting discussion.
Seems very similar in essence to current postal voting in Australia but applied on a wider scale.
With regard to the queuing bottlenecks - they occur here in Australia too and can be a bit of a bother in bad weather. However with compulsory voting Australians have turned this civic duty into just another excuse for social activity with charity sausage sizzles, cake stalls, car washes, car boot sales and various other enterprises. The only activity positively forbidden within 100 metres of a polling booth on election Saturday is vote canvassing. Since everyone 18 or older must vote peer pressure is virtually non-existent and friends and families will often turn up together to vote making the process of queuing far more bearable.
However, having said that, I too will be interested in developments arising from this inspiration.