And the election tech stories just keep on comin’.
This time, the news revolves around Microsoft Surface, which is being tested as a balloting device in one Virginia location for state and national elections.
Charlottesville, VA, gets to have the honors thanks to Democracy Live. The company, which delivers electronic ballots and voter info for multiple states, has installed a single Microsoft Surface (with cloud-based Windows Azure) in this location. Voters queue up to hop on the device, pull up an online ballot in the browser (courtesy of Democracy Live’s LiveBallot web app), mark it up and then print it out so a separate machine can take the vote.
So far the tablet has proven to be extremely popular in the precinct. Of course it is; the Surface is a huge improvement over the status quo. Balloting machines are infamous for being ancient relics. (Think Intel 486 processors and the like.)
If all goes well, Democracy Live could join with Microsoft in rolling out more Surfaces — including the Intel-powered version running Windows 8 Pro. Not only would that rock USB ports and the ability to run older Windows programs, but it would also offer a load of accessibility features — include screen reading for the sight-impaired and compatibility with specialized equipment, like breath-operated (“sip-and-puff”) input devices.