Microsoft Surface in a ballot machine avatar

The newly launched Microsoft Surface tablet is already being used as a balloting device for state and national elections at a precinct in Virginia. It is a remarkable display of faith in a just-launched technology by the Issaquah-based firm Democracy Live, which works with various states to deliver electronic ballots and voter information.

For this test, the company is running the LiveBallot application on the Surface. The web app enables voters to access, mark and print a ballot for tabulation by a different machine.

For the current elections only one Surface tablet is tested in a precinct in Charlottesville. CEO of Democracy Live Bryan Finney plans to work on a broader rollout of Surface for similar uses after the Windows Pro 8 version is released. The Intel-based Surface will run Windows legacy applications that the current ARM-based Surface (Windows RT) isn’t capable of supporting.

In the future, tablets could replace older machines in such precincts that still run on the dated Intel 486 processors. Not to mention that tablets like the Surface have added features like a built-in screen reader and an USB-based sip-and-puff input device that can help voters with disabilities.

What do you think of this? Finally the tablets are finding even better use than displaying menus and taking orders in the restaurant. Do you think more customized Android tablets will serve this purpose better?

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