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Apple donates iPads for Oregon pilot program to help the disabled vote

Apple has donated some iPads to Oregon for use in a pilot program to deliver votes with Apple's magical tablet. A new movement to reach disabled and home-bound voters will head out to nursing homes and other places, armed with iPads, and then use those devices to record and register votes in advance of a special election. Not only does a touchscreen allow voters to record their preferences with simply a finger, but it also allows for zooming in to bigger text and otherwise reading ballots and other documents.

The current initiative is just a test, but it's set to be used in the next general election as well. If things go as planned, Oregon will likely deploy the program all across the state. Apple reportedly donated five iPads to begin with (and the state spent $75,000 on the custom software), but officials only estimate they'd need about 72 iPads to carry the plan out across the entire state.

There is one issue, however: Apparently this system still relies on a paper ballot, which is printed out after the actual choices are made on the iPad. Many of these users don't have the ability to read their choices back, so the iPad plan may still not work even for this limited solution. But if that problem gets fixed, some Oregonians will be able to register their votes with the iPad.

[photo credit: AP]

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