LWV-PA on the Front Lines of the 2020 Primary

LWV-PA on the Front Lines of the 2020 Primary


Part 3—Ways to Improve VSAP

Here are one poll worker’s suggestions to improve and speed up the process of voting in L.A. County:

  • The ePollbooks must be more robust, and more tech support needs to be available to keep them running.
  • The ratio of ePollbooks to BMDs should be 1:2. More ePollbooks, even slow ePollbooks, means faster check-ins, means more voters processed.
  • The eleven-day vote period should be eliminated. Resources can be concentrated into four days. I imagine that when all the numbers are tallied, very few voters used the extra seven days.
  • Each vote center needs more and better-trained poll workers. Poll workers tend to rotate jobs so that people can take breaks and move around. All poll workers need to understand the rules and requirements, but with the new technology it may be better to have some specialists. The Lead Poll Worker, supervisor to the center, should be able to move around to assess how the entire process is working and to troubleshoot when and where necessary. An appropriate number of workers should receive specialized training on the ePollbook because that step can significantly slow the process.
  • Poll workers of all ages should be recruited. I am seventy-six years old, and I use computers regularly. It was helpful and reassuring to older voters to have a peer help them with check-in and the BMD process, but it would also be helpful to add younger and more tech-savvy poll workers who can nimbly respond to technical problems.
  • Vote centers should be evaluated by the numbers of voters served, ease of access, and technical issues. Perhaps some vote centers will need to be relocated. There should be an evaluation to determine the optimal size for vote centers.
  • Some of the prompts during the ballot-marking process could be made more intuitive or streamlined. Here is a small technical change that could improve the process: When voters have reviewed their ballots and are ready to vote, the last two prompts are “Cast Your Ballot Now” and “Next.” It seems trivial for “next” to be the last step in this important process; it could be “Vote” in another color. That would provide voters with two cues that they are completing the process.
  • Many voters were minimally informed about the VSAP system, early voting, and other changes. Infomercials, YouTube videos, social media, and print supplements should all be used to help voters prepare themselves. Vote-by-mail and early voting must be encouraged. The LWV-PA is continuing its efforts in this arena.

—Hester Bell, Altadena, California

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