November 7th, 2011
Voting by mail? That’s so last century. Oregon upgrades to voting by iPad.
We always like to talk about how Portland—and by association Oregon—is a hub for mobile development. But guess what? The State government just upped the ante.
Not satisfied to just let its voting public vote by mail, the State of Oregon has now rolled out a program that allows folks to vote by iPad.
Using the iPad, disabled voters can call up the right ballot and tap the screen to pick a candidate, with or without the help of election workers. The voters then print the completed ballot and stuff it in an envelope to sign, take with them and drop in the mail or an official ballot box.
State elections officials say they’ll use the same system in the special general election in January. And if the pilot project is successful, they’ll make the service available across the state. They believe Oregon is the first state to try using iPads to mark ballots.
How did they get the funding to manage this? Well, as to 9to5Mac reveals, Apple donated the hardware:
Apple has donated five iPads to Oregon to test out the program, but the Oregon state government had to spend $72,000 on the software that runs on the iPads. To deploy the iPad statewide, if the pilot program is successful, the state would need to buy 72 iPads (2 per county) for a total of $36,000. If successful, this program will most likely spread country wide.
Given this news, I’m eagerly awaiting the update to the Obama iPhone app.
For more information, read the press release on Oregon allowing voting by iPad.
(Image courtesy Yutaka Tsutano. Used under Creative Commons.)