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University developing technology to vote on your tablet, smartphone

Giuseppe Macri
Tech Editor

A Clemson University professor is developing a new electronic voting system that will allow voters to cast their ballots from home computers, tablets and smartphones.

As Clemson’s chair of human-centered computing, Juan Gilbert has lead teams of students over the last 10 years to create an online voting system accessible at home or on the go that will be more accurate, have increased verification and make voting more accessible to people with disabilities by offering mobile and voice-command options.

The system will be downloadable via computer, tablet or smartphone, and be significantly cheaper and easier to use than conventional electronic voting machines, The Greenville News reports.

“Prime III is the world’s most accessible voting technology ever created,” Gilbert told The Greenville News Thursday. “And we did that in our labs.”

The Premier Third Generation Voting System will be offered for free and already has plans to go into use in Wisconsin by the 2014 midterm elections, with voting-machine manufacturers in South Carolina looking into it as well.

South Carolina is one of 16 states that uses paperless voting, which according to the League of Women Voters, accounted for more than 2,500 errors in two counties alone in the 2010 elections. The state’s 11,400 iVotronic machines cost almost $3,000 a piece for a total of $34 million between 2004 and 2005.

After a vote is cast digitally using the Prime III system, a paper ballot with candidate selections is automatically printed and fed into a machine for additional scanning and counting, for added verifiability.

All of the hardware the system needs is already commercially available, with iPads making up the bulk of the cost at around $500 a piece.

In addition to the Prime III, Gilbert has developed systems that would allow voters to schedule appointment times at polls to cut down on lines, and online Skype-like video link voting for soldiers stationed overseas.

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