Touchscreen interface problems

There’s been a lot of talk about how touchscreen voting is a better interface than paper ballots, but that we should not (and should not have to) sacrifice the security, understandability and reliability of having a paper audit trail as well. Now it seems we’re seeing interface problems with touchscreen voting.

I expect the voting officials are right that this is a case of “user error” — that’s what we call it in our industry when the interface designer didn’t do enough of a good job and now wants to blame someone else. Having watched technologically-minded researchers get confused when they accidentally trigger our giant presentation touchscreen at work, it doesn’t surprise me much either. Unfortunately, with all the cases of actual voter-registration fraud, invalid and highly-suspicious selctive purging of voters from the rolls, back doors secretly coded into official vote-counting software, and laughable “security” protocols in voting machines these voters (Democrat and Republican) are right to be skeptical. We need to do better.