Smartphones Could Play Key Role in Future U.S. Elections, Researchers Say

“Mobile voting carries the potential to increase voter participation, reduce election administration costs, and allow voters to interact with familiar technology," the authors wrote.

With more and more Americans upgrading to smartphones, and as smartphone capabilities continue to improve, even the U.S. government is considering innovative ways to harness this advancing technology. Human factors/ergonomics researchers have evaluated the potential benefits of using smartphones to enable online voting in future U.S. elections and will present their findings at the upcoming Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 55th Annual Meeting Sept. 19-23 in Las Vegas.

The 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida became a national embarrassment, prompting many U.S. election officials to opt for more technologically advanced voter systems. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002, which aimed, in part, to increase usability and promote accurate election results through the creation and distribution of electronic voting systems. Little research was completed to determine the efficiency of the new systems, which has caused additional usability issues. This gap has led some to speculate that mobile voting may prove to be the wave of the future for voters.

In their upcoming annual meeting presentation, “Voting on a Smartphone: Evaluating the Usability of an Optimized Voting System for Handheld Mobile Devices,” Bryan Campbell, Chad Tossell, Michael Byrne, and Philip Kortum asked more than 50 men and women ranging in age from 18 to 68, with and without smartphone experience, to vote on two types of systems: a custom-built mobile Web application, and either a traditional electronic voting system or a paper ballot. The researchers found that participants who own and use smartphones completed the voting task more accurately than did those without smartphone experience, indicating the need to design mobile voting systems—including content for such systems—to accommodate inexperienced voters’ mental model to increase usability, effectiveness, and accuracy.

The authors noted some potential benefits of implementing smartphone technology for voters: “Mobile voting carries the potential to increase voter participation, reduce election administration costs, and allow voters to interact with familiar technology. In the near term, remote voting should not be considered a viable option for elections. Over the long term, however, with the support of the human factors/ergonomics and computer science communities, mobile voting can be a viable—and desirable—means of conducting elections.”

Congress has given preliminary approval for remote electronic voting to replace slow and unreliable postal ballots for U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. “As a result, some form of Internet voting seems inevitable, and it follows then that smartphones and other Internet-capable mobile technologies will likely play a key role,” the authors wrote.

Download Center

  • The Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. This guide is here to help!

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Thinking of getting an online safety training solution at work but not sure how to evaluate different solutions and find the one that's best for your company? Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • SDS Software Buyer's Guide

    Whether this is your first time shopping for online SDS software or you’re upgrading from a legacy solution, this guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that works best for you and your company.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January February 2022

    January February 2022

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SAFETY
      Industrial Facility Safety from the Loading Dock to the Plant Interior
    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Tiny Particles: Big Booms
    • OIL & GAS
      Creating a Culture of Safety
    • PPE: HAND PROTECTION
      Innovative, Comfortable Hand Protection Option for Workers
    View This Issue