Opinion: Ga. voting processes should be both secure and usable
Posted March 13, 2021
External Article: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Michael Best, professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing, co-authored the opinion piece "Ga. voting processes should be both secure and usable," published March 13, 2021 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Best, along with Ellen Zegura and Richard DeMillo of the College of Computing, shared results of the research they undertook on the accessibility of voting locations, which was partly spurred by dissatisfaction in the wake of June 2020's primary elections. One key point of the findings was the highly levels of voter satisfaction regarding the use of stadiums as voting locations.
State Farm Arena claims to be the nation’s first stadium to offer itself as a polling location, though many other arenas across the nation followed suit. All of us should be proud of the way our professional sports teams stepped up. The organizations that operate sports arenas are filled with professionals focused on customer experience and usability. So, should sporting arenas continue to serve as large-scale early voting locations? Maybe. After all, stadia often are built with considerable public support and taxpayer investment and offering themselves as polling places is a great way for them to give back to their communities.
The usability concepts that are common in stadia can also be applied to our more-typical polling locations, such as churches, libraries, and schools. More user-friendly election systems don’t require sporting venues. Instead, what is required is an investment in useful, efficient, easy, and pleasant voting experiences. This investment will only happen with broad political support.