It’s time to vote in Oregon again, thanks to a special election to replace David Wu. This time around when it comes time to vote the county of Oregon will be using the iPad, thanks to its new voting pilot program. The purpose of the technology is to give an easy and portable tool that election officials can use to reach as many people as possible. The county will be sending its officials around to places such as nursing homes, parks, and community centers offering an easy way for its citizens to vote. Additionally voters will be able to remotely access the app to update registration, track ballets, and even ask questions. The iPad also offers accessibility programs that make it easier for people with disabilities to cast their vote.
Of course such a major new technology also means a lot of added costs. Although Apple has donated five iPads for the pilot, the state still spent over $75,000 in software development for the new pilot program. Additionally if they are planning on launching the program statewide it is estimated they would need at least 2 iPads per county, which would come to 72 iPads in total At about $500 each the state would need to make an investment of about $36,000. Portable printers would also cost about $50 each, although counties could use their existing printers from their offices. The total cost of software is still unknown.
This seems like an interesting way of gathering votes and provides a unique way to reach more people. At the same time you have to wonder if the cost and potential security risks of using computer technology are really worth it.