By John Gideon, VoteTrustUSA and Executive Director VotersUnite.Org
As reported earlier, today is the public hearing for the Vote-PAD. Ellen Theisen, President and Founder of Vote-PAD has testified about the problems with the test procedure. In her testimony she referred to accompanying testimony from Valerie Rice, PhD., CPE, OTR/L, whose PhD is in "Human Factors Engineering (Industrial Engineering and Operations Research) with a specialization in Human Factors Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and masters degrees in both Occupational Therapy (University of Puget Sound) and Health Care Administration (Baylor University). She is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist and a liscensed and registered Occupational Therapist". In otherwords, Dr. Rice is the person who should have written the states test procedure which would have given everyone a fair and even field for making a judgment on Vote-PAD.
In her testimony Ms. Theisen says:
As I wrote to the Secretary of State before the staff report was released, I have serious concerns about the testing process. While it was intended to verify the usability and effectiveness of Vote-PAD for use in an election, the test protocol was planned and implemented by people who have no experience conducting usability testing - particularly with respect to persons with disabilities - and without the oversight of a human factors expert. And, the results were evaluated by people who have no experience in human factors.
On the matter of testing of other voting systems as compared to the Vote-PAD, Ms. Theisen gives a telling example:
It is notable that, in the staff report on the Vote-PAD, three of the eight pages discussing test results were devoted to write-in issues. However, in the staff report on the Hart eSlate system which was tested a week prior to the Vote-PAD, no write-in issues were raised, even though the consultant's report points out three severe problems with the write-in feature:
♦ It is possible for the eSlate audio to report that one letter was entered when actually another was entered,
♦ There is no way for a blind voter using the eSlate to review the name of a write-in candidate, and
♦ The eSlate's audio feedback for the Clear/Backup function is confusing.
Since the eSlate can give inaccurate feedback on write in names, and - unlike the
Vote-PAD - provides no way for voters to verify the name, it appears that voters with visual impairments can cast a write-in vote on the eSlate system even less reliably than on the Vote-PAD. It's difficult to understand why the staff didn't consider the eSlate write-in issues enough of a problem to include in their report.
Certainly write-in candidates present a major challenge for voters using the Vote-
PAD, but there is no evidence to suggest that the challenge is greater than it is on other systems, since this stringent testing by people with disabilities has not occurred on any other system certified in California.
Dr. Rice summarizes in her testimony: