As Mike has already mentioned, he and I observed one early voting pollsite together on Thursday May 25 in Monterey Park. Since I had never been there, we did a test to see how easy or difficult it would be for me to find the polling location. Shortly before he arrived on campus to pick me up I printed out the directions using Google maps (I don’t know why I used Google–I usually use Yahoo! maps…this proved to be problematic). I navigated us to Monterey Park using the Google directions and simply could not find the pollsite! We turned around twice before Mike decided to start taking, what appeared to me, random turns. We finally found the street we were looking for and thus, the pollsite. I was very frustrated because Google maps was wrong–perhaps if I had had a close-up of the area I may have found it…but I didn’t so I was stuck with the incorrect map. I looked up the location again afterwards and saw that the map was in fact correct…so this potential voter’s problem was an error on her part.
If I had been a voter with a limited amount of time, I’m not sure I would have made it to the pollsite that day. Even though the directions I had weren’t quite right, it would have been much more helpful if there had been signs posted on the main cross streets indicating where the pollsite was located. We saw none whatsoever. I found this test to be very interesting and it illustrates one of the problems voters encounter when going to a pollsite to which they’ve never been.
In general, the observation experience was very educational for me…and quite fun really. Mike and I discussed the various issues that we observed which few voters we observed experienced. It spoke volumes to me the problems that still remain for voters in the current voting technology climate.