Usability for Port Chester Votes


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Presentation at EVN 2011 from the panel "Improving Ballots - Working inside election departments" (with presenters Dana Chisnell and Jenny Greeve). This presentation covered work with the Village of Port Chester and Fair Votes implementing cumulative voting in the village.

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Usability for Port Chester Votes

  1. 1. Port Chester VotesImproving cumulative voting design<br />EVN 2011 – Chicago, IL<br />Whitney Quesenbery<br />Usability in Civic Life<br /><br />
  2. 2. Election for Village Board of Trustees <br /> Conducted under court order in Voting Rights lawsuit over fair representation for Latino voters<br /> Introduced cumulative voting<br /> Worked with Fair Vote, who was in charge of voter education<br />
  3. 3. In-person voting used lever machines<br />Each candidate had an entire column, allowing for multiple votes.<br />
  4. 4. Absentee ballots used an array of vote targets<br />The “dice” ballot provided the 6 voting targets associated with each candidate<br />Although this ballot was tested, in the actual election, the Village used a ballot that looked more like the lever layout and hand-counted them<br />
  5. 5. Three rounds of clarifying the instructions<br />First draft<br />Second draft:<br />Expert updates<br />Final recommendation:<br />Based on usability test<br />Focus on what’s new, not routine instructions:<br /> Moved cumulative voting to the top<br /> Called it “Voting Instructions”<br />
  6. 6. Voter education explained cumulative voting<br /> Different voting scenarios illustrated with figures and check marks<br /> Voters said that they understood the concept, but still didn’t know what to do in the voting booth<br />So…..<br />
  7. 7. Voter ed updated to show how to vote <br />For the absentee ballots(Spanish<br />For the lever machines(English)<br />Examples showed both the concept<br />and what it looked like on the ballot<br />
  8. 8. An idea that didn’t make it<br /> Even voters who understood the cumulative concept sometimes fell back on old habit when in the voting booth.<br /> A proposed concept would put a simple reminder in voters’ hands when they sign in at the polling place. <br />But<br />Candidates campaign with their column number, so this could mean “Vote on line 6”<br />Oops. <br /> Idea dropped. Voters were given regular voter ed materials.<br />
  9. 9. Lessons learned<br /> Expertise is not enough: observe (and listen to) real voters<br /> Look at any text or design element from all sides to make sure the information is clear<br /> Simpler language is easier to translate (and takes up less room) on a crowded ballot<br />
  10. 10. Project credits<br /> Village of Port Chester: Mayor Dennis Pilla, Martha Lopez-Hanratty, Joan Mancuso<br /> Fair Vote: Rob Richie, Amy Ngai<br />UPA Usability in Civic Life: Whitney Quesenbery, Michele Marut, Ronald Cianfaglione<br /> And the citizens of Port Chester who participated in the usability test <br />
  11. 11. How easily can we learn from users?<br />Usability testingdoes not have to be formal, lengthy, or expensive. <br />You don’t need<br />a formal laboratory<br />100s of participants<br />special equipment (except for your voting system)<br />special recording systems<br />Poster created by Jenny Greeve, Design Fellow, Washington State<br />
  12. 12. Resource for Election Officials: The Ballot Usability Testing Kit<br />A kit of materials to help you run usability tests with ballots or other election materials<br />Usability Testing Ballots: What you need to know<br />Session script<br />Consent, demographics, and satisfaction forms<br />Report template<br /><br />A project of the Usability Professionals’ Association Usabilty in Civic LifeDana Chisnell, Laurie Kantner, Ginny Redish, Whitney Quesenbery, Josephine Scott, Sarah Swierenga<br />
  13. 13. UPA is an association of professionals with a mission to advance the usability profession through education, information, skill-building and improved methods and practices.<br />The Usability in Civic Life project promotes usability in elections, plain language and accessibility. <br />We mobilize usability professionals to participate in projects supporting better election design.<br />Projects include participation in the Brennan Center’s Ballot Design Task Force, the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee and the US Access Board’s advisory committee to update “Section 508” accessibility regulations, and work with the Center for Plain Language.<br />