by Terri Wiebold
Residents going to voting centers this election will vote using a new state of the art technology known as an eSlate™ or Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system.
The eSlate device is about the size of a legal pad, about one inch thick, and weighs just 5.2 pounds. Voters turn a rotary wheel to electronically move through ballot choices to make voting selections, without needing to know anything about computers. It is easy to use, is accessible to voters with disabilities, and is fast and efficient for ballot tabulation. It allows voters to confidently and accurately register votes, while maintaining strict confidentiality.
Upon arriving at a designated voting site, voters register and provide proper identification as is standard protocol. Voters are then assigned a four-digit code which will be entered into the eSlate device. The code does NOT identify an individual voter in any way and cannot be linked to any particular vote.
Next, using the rotary wheel, voters select a language –English or Spanish. Voters are then prompted to enter the four-digit code provided at registration and the ballot appears on the color screen of the eSlate. Voters use the circular wheel (pictured on the eSlate device above) to navigate through the ballot. Voters move a highlighted bar onto a desired choice, press the large button marked “enter”, and the selection is recorded. The selected choice turns bold, and all other choices fade into the background, so there is a strong visual representation of the vote.
After voting on the last item on the ballot, a screen will appear listing all the choices selected and will let voters know if any of the ballot items were missed. From this screen, voters will have the opportunity to change a selection or correct a mistake as needed. When finished reviewing the ballot, voters press the “cast ballot” button. This triggers the printer to print out a summary of the ballot. A waving flag will appear, which means the ballot has been recorded successfully and the wheels of democracy are set in motion.
To read more about the eSlate device, download pdf.