Brazilian Voting Machine

FIT / TSE

Structural Product Packaging Optimization Experience

The adoption of printed vote and the project obsolescence - a 1980's design -creates a technical e design challenge for matching new regulatory issues and a streamlined voting process

In 2015, the law on printed vote was approved by Congress. The idea aims to adopt the printed vote simultaneously to the digital vote, as a way of proving the vote cast and guaranteeing a possible auditing system, still preserving the speed of dynamic counting of the votes in progress, an already striking characteristic of the Brazilian elections.

The project was extremely complex and involved teams from different expertise areas, such as technology, security, cost management, investment and logistics. Considering the adoption of the vote printing and the checking by each voter, another factor also draws attention: the interface design needs to have ergonomics that allows the best clarity and speed for the choice and confirmation of the vote, avoiding an increase in the time spent and formation of voters long lines in the voting places.

The project metodologia went through understanding the voting chain, visiting TSE and making immersion among the technicians.

An election in Brazil involves a very broad logistical operation, with issues of national security, use of military contingents, access to remote or violent areas. Brazil is a country of continental dimensions and the election system with the use of physical electronic devices, makes the operation a great movement of material and teams.

The challenge was not limited to taking voting machines to all points and loading their memory regionally with local candidates, but also checking the results, storing equipment during and outside the election period, implementing maintenance, charging batteries.

The design has focused on solving several points of the system, such as reducing the handling time of each ballot box, improving the guarantee of confidentiality and voting accuracy, in addition to reducing the cost of transportation and storage. All of these developments tend to have a positive impact on the whole Brazilian electoral system.

Logistic chain for the majority of voting machines

The people flow within the voting section is well known, and during the design process some simulations were carried out in order to validate opportunities to improve it, considering that the printed vote would increase the voting time for each citizen (in Brazil the vote is mandatory). The work of the people in charge and those responsible for the voting section was also relieved by solutions for ergonomics and operational optimization.

Flow raised within the section - each item was considered a design opportunity

One of the focal points was the ergonomics of the front panel of the voting terminal. The original UI proposed by the TSE drived user's attention from left to right and vice versa, generating loss of concentration, failures risk and consequent delay (figure left below). The change in layout proposed by the figure on the right reduces the horizontal range of attention and allows direct alignment of the printed information with the information on the screen, following the western reading direction from left to right.

Analysis of amplitude and reading direction of information in the voting machine control panel

Concept Generation

When generating concepts, the designers proposed 3 different routes:
A more conservative alternative, following the original idea imagined by TSE, in which the voting machine is a single body. This body would be attached to an RVI, which stores the printed votes.

Concept 1

The second concept was more disruptive, proposing logistic compaction in which the battery and the voting printer would be removable. The battery would make the rear support of the voter terminal.

The third concept brought the idea of greater modularity, allowing both the voter terminal and the polling station terminal to have their modules interchanged with the reports printer. The vote printer could also be easily replaced in case of a mechanical problem.

THE RVI SYSTEM - PRINTED VOTES STORAGE CONTAINER

The RVI is compactable, and allows you to reduce its storage volume by 75%. Its conception represents a key point of mechanical technical challenge of this project, since the creation of its coupling system to the printer, needs to exclusively guarantee the entrance of the votes printed inside the RVI module, while it must prevent any attempt to uncouple and grant access to the printed votes, immediately closing the entrance door, keeping security until RVI's seal is broken.

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Layout studies for location of RVI related to voting terminal printer

PACKAGING SYSTEM

The voting units demanded a packaging system to guarantee their storage and transport for long periods and distances.

The development of the structural layout and packaging resulted in a 20% logistical gain in terms of three-dimensional volume. Taking advantage of the corners of the packaging, we also created a system of retractable feet to transform the ballot box into a voting table, considering isolated locations where a school table would not be available.