Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
A new analysis of election ballots found 13 design flaws that continue to plague elections despite money set aside to overhaul voting systems in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential vote.
Poorly designed ballots have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters in recent elections. Better Ballots , draws on results from the 2000, 2002 and 2006 elections in both state and federal contests. It recommends several guidelines to county, state and federal election officials on how to improve ballot design, with an emphasis on measures that can be taken in time to affect the November 2008 election. The recommendations include conducting usability tests of ballots before finalizing the design, amending elections laws that prevent counties from employing the most usable ballot designs, and requiring counties to report the number of overvotes, undervotes and spoiled ballots. The report also documents instances of bad ballot designs from around the country and provides examples of poorly designed ballots on the Web site.