The user experience of US voters today may be one of the more interesting discussions outside of the actual election results. The usability of voting systems and ballots has been a topic vital to elections officials, none of whom want to become the latest poster child for problematic elections. The Help America Vote Act was passed in the wake of the infamous 2000 election, and that has helped generate awareness and efforts to deliver more usable voting systems and ballots. Here are a few sites to visit to learn about these efforts.
In a recent interview with Scott Berkun, Dana Chisnell discusses the current state of usable ballot design
The UPA Voting and Usability project site
provides numerous articles and resources generated by the project to promote awareness and deliver tools for election officials.
The Brennan Center for Justice
sponsored usability studies of ballots around the country this year and is just one of many sites, including new organizations such as NPR and CNN, inviting voters to report any issues they've experienced with this election, from registration to casting a ballot.
As a Floridian, the spotlight that gets shined on my home state around elections since 2000 can be a little uncomfortable. For everyone in the US, however, this attention and the accompanying awareness that successful user experience design is integral to successful democracy can only benefit our country. For anyone interested in user experience design, it provides a concrete example of what this field is about and the benefits it offers.
I encourage all Americans to vote today. I further invite you to write about your own user experience, either in this community or link us to your blog or website. Since many sites are already collecting lists of the problems being encountered, consider writing about what was good or improved from that last election in your user experience in voting.
While it may not be an election day elsewhere, I'd also be interested in hearing about the user experiences of election days outside the US. I know that Canadians went to their polls on October 14, so understanding the best of both recent experiences benefits everyone.