Politics

Step-by-step: Explore the future of voting in LA County

Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
A non-functioning prototype shows what new ballot marking devices would look like inside the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
A storage room inside the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk holds old prototypes, including different iterations of the accessibility button pad.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
A prototype at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk shows the design and materials that would be used with a new ballot marking device.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
Adrian Avilar is an administrative analyst for the voting systems assessment project at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Avilar uses a prototype in a conference room on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The prototype was user-tested in May 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
The current ballot marking device, left, ballot casting device and accessibility ballot marking device stand on display at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. All three of these devices would be combined in the new touchscreen ballot device.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
Currently, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk uses an ink-based ballot marking device that was first introduced in the 1960s.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
Currently, the accessibility ballot marker is a separate device.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan uses a touchscreen ballot marking device at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk offices on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. The device is the third prototype developed by the county.
A storage room inside the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk holds different possible designs of the accessibility button pad.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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Los Angeles County officials are in the midst of reimagining the way voters will be voting.

After several years' work on a new voting system and a recent presentation at Southwest by Southwest Eco, officials will soon lock down design details with the aim of rolling the system out fully in 2020. A pilot program is scheduled in 2018.  

Under the system that is envisioned, voters can mark their choices using touchscreen devices, submit ballot selections via smartphones and vote on one of several days at various locations. 

Voters also have options like customizing their ballot's font size and choosing a ballot from several languages. The new voting system will still create a ballot paper trail as required by state law. 

The project began as an idea back in 2009 and has cost $8.9 million so far, a price tag expected to rise to $13 million in the coming months. 

KPCC recently tried out a prototype of the new system at the L.A. County registrar offices in Norwalk. Here's a step-by-step guide of how it works:

  1. When you first check in, a poll worker will give you a blank ballot with your individual QR code:
  2. Feed your blank ballot into the ballot marker device, which has both a QR code scanner and printer:
  3. You have the option of using headphones that have spoken instructions:
  4. An accessibility button pad is included in the ballot marking device:
  5. Begin voting using a touchscreen:
  6. The touchscreen interface is purposely minimalist for best readability:
  7. Or, voters can select their candidates at home on their smartphones then scan in their choices once they get to the polls using this QR code scanner:
  8. Your completed ballot will be printed out from the marking device: