Yesterday Julie Deden and I voted at the Arapahoe Library Branch at South Glen using the new Universal Voting System (UVS) by Dominion that is in use now in 18 Colorado counties and will eventually be used in all 64 counties. I was reminded of a couple other problems with the system in terms of nonvisual access to Private, independent voting:, so we can add these to the list:
- I got over-anxious once when I entered the vote and it read again the vote - such as Colorado House District Number xx. I hit the right arrow instead of the down-arrow to read the choices, and it took me into an options menu for text size. A left arrow took me back to the election announcement, and I was able from there to proceed with the vote. Not a big deal, and obviously, nothing told me to make that gesture, but then, nothing told me that anything would happen or would be possible if I did make that gesture.
- When entering an election, say for U.S. Representative, the system does not announce how many choices you will have. This may not always be a problem, but if you get to an election in which you don't like any of the first choices, and want to see if there are any Independent or so-called third-party candidates, once you arrow past the last choice, you are immediately advanced to the next election. You can move back to that vote, but it's irritating because the system behaves differently if you have made a selection in a vote. Then, you must down-arrow twice to go to the next vote.
- When you enter the Review option at the end of your ballot, the system will tell you if their are "Warnings" for any of the items on the ballot, but won't tell you what they are. I intentionally undervoted one election, but since the system said the plural "warnings" I went back to check. After all, there were a lot of judges up for retention. But the system didn't take me back to the votes for which the "warnings" were issued, I had to go through the entire ballot with its 38 elections to check. When I went back to Review, it gave me the “There are warnings” message once again. Not helpful at all.
- I couldn't print my ballot independently. It could be because the instructions in Review Mode are ambiguous. I tried to go to Voter Options, but nothing happened. I had to have the poll worker use the touch screen to do it, and I don't know if my votes were exposed at that point or not.
The Dominion system is going to be with us for a while in Colorado, but it clearly lacks top-notch software engineering, and since that’s really what Dominion is selling, we need to bring pressure on them and on the Secretary of State to bring this product up to standard, and fast!
So, armed with these few tips, go out and vote your conscience!