Will you use your smartphone in the voting booth?

I use my smartphone to look up prices in the grocery store, nutrition information in line at fast food places, and mattress prices at Sears when I’m in Macy’s.

With 46 percent of American adults owning smartphones, I am wondering how many will use them to look up information on candidates or issues in the voting booth?

In the past I have taken in notes or pages from the newspaper with information about who or what I want to vote for. (Sometimes they use double negatives in the phrasing or the numbers on the item are confusing, and I need reference material.)

But I think this year, if I were voting in the booth, I would look up stuff in my phone. (I have my ballot at home and am voting early this year.)

I believe both parties put out voter guides so I can see people referencing those on their phones or even making notes to themselves beforehand in their phones.

Will you use your smartphone in the voting booth this year? How will you use it?

74 comments Add your comment

DB

October 23rd, 2012
12:14 pm

They better not — cell phone use at a polling place is prohibited in Georgia. When I used to work the polls, we were ALWAYS having to politely remind people to put their cell phones away.

http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2008/georgia-law-prohibits-recording-inside-polling-places

DB

October 23rd, 2012
12:22 pm

Slight hijack: My daughter has gotten quite good at on-line couponing with her smartphone — we’ll be at the mall and if she sees something in a store, she’ll check online first to see if there’s a store coupon for it. Amazing how many times there’s 10-15% off! She’ll just show the coupon on her phone to the clerk, they key in a number, and bang: discount. She swears her phone has already paid for itself!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 23rd, 2012
12:32 pm

REally — I had no idea — Wow — If I wasn’t voting at home I would totally want to use mine — is that still the law??????? what do they think you’re going to do with your phone other than annoy people by talking in line??? — totally would have notes in there and a guide to the election — I am so shocked by this!!!

A

October 23rd, 2012
12:37 pm

I early voted here in Fulton last week and there were signs at the polling place saying cell use was prohibited. You can use your cell while waiting in line and check email, etc. but once you are directed in and give your ID, etc. it has to be off and put away.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 23rd, 2012
12:41 pm

What do they think you’re going to do with it — that is wild??? thanks A!!

usually lurking

October 23rd, 2012
12:42 pm

@DB, interesting. The law seems to be intended to prohibit a voter from recording their vote. Just wow.

Mayhem

October 23rd, 2012
12:48 pm

Mine is always on silent in the booth…..and in line too. I can’t stand for others to hear my conversations…..however, they all seem intent on making others a part of their conversation……I just think that’s rude.

I have actually sat in my car for 20 minutes, before going into a store, just to finish a phone conversation. I cannot focus at the store while yakking on the cell……LOL

Mayhem

October 23rd, 2012
12:49 pm

@DB- I do that too….At Hobby Lobby the other day, I used my phone to show them the 40% off coupon. It worked at the Vet too when I had to take my cat in for an ear infection. Just pull it up and show it to the cashier!!!

Never thought about using it at the mall though. I’ll have to tell the kids, I’m not a mall shopper……..but I love Target!!!

redandblack

October 23rd, 2012
12:51 pm

WOW… I had no idea! But I could see where people using their phones while in the booth, either talking on it or using it to look up issues, could make the lines much longer, thus discouraging more people to wait to cast their votes.

jarvis

October 23rd, 2012
12:55 pm

I vote absentee every year, and I use my computer to look up info on the local candidates while I complete my ballot.

DB

October 23rd, 2012
12:58 pm

1. It’s an annoyance. Most people want to think about their voting, not listing to the conversation next to them about tennis next week.

2. It’s a distraction. People would be chatting on their phone and not paying attention to what they were doing, not submitting the ballot properly, forgetting to pull out the card, etc. That requires the staff at the polling place to have to do reconciliations, resets, etc. and is generally a PITA.

3. Privacy issues: You might be taking a picture of your vote. But you might also be quickly taking a photo of your neighboring voter’s vote. It doesn’t take much to just lift the phone a few inches and aim it at your neighbor’s screen. Granted, the chances are slim — but it does compromise the assurance of a secret ballot.

4. It lengthens the time it takes for someone to vote — a MAJOR consideration on a presidential vote, when the lines are already out the door.

Take a sample ballot with you that you have filled out ahead of time. Making last second decisions while you are at the voting both is scarcely fair to either the issues or the candidates who have been campaigning and deserve a thoughtful vote.

Gail

October 23rd, 2012
12:58 pm

By the time you get to the voting booth you should have made up your mind. Do your research on your phone before you get there. Usually there is a line of people waiting to vote.

DB

October 23rd, 2012
1:08 pm

Van Jones

October 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

Amen Gail, amen!

malleesmom

October 23rd, 2012
1:21 pm

I cannot fathom why anyone would have a phone turned on in the voting booth. It should be turned off before you get your ballot. I’m sure that status update or tweet can wait until voting is done. JMO

A reader

October 23rd, 2012
1:27 pm

Why on earth would you use a smart phone to look up candidate information WHILE in the voting booth?? Are you simply too lazy to do it before you venture to your polling place? Have you no consideration for the hundreds of people behind you who are waiting to vote?

Do you research ahead of time, get in, vote, get out, and let the next person vote.

malleesmom

October 23rd, 2012
1:29 pm

As for looking up “stuff” before casting the ballot, shouldn’t one’s research be complete and decisions made BEFORE stepping up to vote? That is why ballot samples are printed for public viewing in advance. It’s not like the text can be changed at the last minute. Am I missing something?

malleesmom

October 23rd, 2012
1:30 pm

Agreed “A Reader” !

Techmom

October 23rd, 2012
1:35 pm

I used my phone at one of the elections a couple of years ago. I can’t remember which but it was one where there were quite a few folks running and I’d done the ballot on the ajc site and then emailed it to myself since I knew I would remember all of the names. I think the no cell phone law is in regards to talking and being a distraction (and was likely in place prior to smartphones).

@Mayhem – Target will text you coupons as well and all you have to do is pull open the barcode for that week and the cashier scans it so the coupons will automatically apply to the items you purchased. Not a blanket % off but it’s still handy.

Mayhem

October 23rd, 2012
1:39 pm

Thanks Techmom!!! I guess I need that barcode reader app….

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 23rd, 2012
1:39 pm

Some of the parties put our electronic voter’s guide — so I could totally see myself pulling out my phone — just like I used to do print editions of my newspaper — and going OK I don’t who these school board people are but my party says this guy is the one I want — I just sent a note to a neighbor last night on school board seats because we have no idea — we don’t know any of these folks — if we were still in gwinnett we would know — and people could do their research ahead and send themselves an email or leave notes in the phone — I have so many notes in my phone about stuff to remember — campground sites that moms tell me to try or beaches or vets or whatever — I am constantly taking notes on my phone as I am learning form people — If I write it on scaps of paper – I lose it!!

I want to write on the phone coupon phenomenon — I totally won’t buy anything in Ann TAylor Loft unless I am getting at least 40 percent with my phone — email or FB sales

Denise

October 23rd, 2012
1:41 pm

I agree that it all needs to be done at home/prior to reaching the booth. Shoot, if the wait is long enough – and this time it may very well be – do it while you’re in line. But PLEASE do not take more time than necessary at the station.

Jeff

October 23rd, 2012
2:49 pm

Do they count absentee ballots now? I know some places in the past didn’t count the absentees until AFTER the election and ONLY if the margin was within a certain range.

Not sure if that is still the case.

mom of 3

October 23rd, 2012
2:53 pm

If you haven’t printed off a sample ballot and researched prior to walking into the voting booth then you are part of the problem.

mom of 3

October 23rd, 2012
2:55 pm

Not changing the subj here but have a question. My husband ended up the hospital due to a severe allergy to a statin drug he had been taking for a month. It was killing his muscle like someone pouring acid on something according to the doctor. He was admitted under the pre-diagnosis of stroke considering his left side was paralyzed. Has anyone else suffered a reaction like this on a statin drug.

mom of 3

October 23rd, 2012
3:03 pm

Not to change the subj but quick question. My husband was admitted the hospital Saturday under stroke conditions – his left side was paralyzed and the test showed the muscle looked like someone that had a stroke and had been lying somewhere for 3 – 5 hours. So the timeline fit because he was with a friend and said he fell @ 11am but wasn’t in pain just extremely weak – didn’t get home until 5:30 and by the time we made it (or I convinced him) to the hospital (MEN). Anyway after all test were completed and read over the weekend we were told Monday morning that he was having a severe reaction to a statin medication he took for a month. He had been off for a week so when ask what medications he was on this one wasn’t mentioned by me. The doctor compared his muscle damage by this drug to something being destroyed by a drop of acid. Just wondering if anyone else had this type of reaction to a statin medication. This scared me to death – thought my husband was dying.

HB

October 23rd, 2012
3:10 pm

“and going OK I don’t who these school board people are but my party says this guy is the one I want”

Yikes! I prefer finding out a bit about the local candidates myself rather than just let my party pick for me. See if your local League of Women Voters has a website. Ours puts out a questionnaire to candidates and then posts their answers online. It’s especially helpful to me for school board, county commissioners, etc where there are limited opportunities to hear from candidates themselves on current local issues. They also provide information on candidates’ work and public service experience.

Kathy

October 23rd, 2012
3:11 pm

Thank you mom of 3…..exactly what I was thinking.

FCM

October 23rd, 2012
3:23 pm

GA CODE: 21-2-413(e) (e) No elector shall use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices or cellular telephones while such elector is within the enclosed space in a polling place.

FCM

October 23rd, 2012
3:25 pm

TWG!!!!!!!!!!!! “but my party says this guy is the one I want ”

You vote party line? ARRRGHHHHHHHH

DB

October 23rd, 2012
3:48 pm

@Jeff: Yes, they are counted, and no, they aren’t held “just in case.” The ballots are received and certified, and then about noon on the day of the election, they are delivered to an “absentee poll” manager and staff, whose job it is to count the ballots. However, they are NOT counted until after the polls close — just like no other vote is counted until after the polls close. It takes them a little longer to count them (they use a optical scanner) but the votes are definitely part of the “official” count.

Wow, Theresa -

October 23rd, 2012
3:52 pm

…how can you be so uninformed about voting precinct laws?

And, what does “If I wasn’t voting at home I would totally want to use mine” mean? Can you really vote at “home” in AZ? How do they keep up with the voter ID law?

Me

October 23rd, 2012
3:57 pm

Seriously? Is there a reason why the research necessary to be an educated and informed voter hasn’t been completed prior to arriving at the polls?

Techmom

October 23rd, 2012
5:30 pm

@Wow, Theresa- did you read that she was voting in advance via mail? So yes, she is voting at home just like anyone can regardless of where they live.

Sandy

October 23rd, 2012
5:40 pm

AMEN “Gail” and “A Reader”. Do your research and be ready before you head to the polling place. If you know nothing about either candidate for a position, leave that vote blank. You don’t have to vote for every item.

freedom lover

October 23rd, 2012
5:58 pm

Do yourself and your family a favor and tune in tonight on C-SPAN at 9pm and see a real debate among the presidential candidates that are NOT owned and controlled by the military/industrial/banking/Goldman Sachs complex. These four candidates from the Libertarian, Constitution, Green and a fourth party I can’t remember, will actually be debating issues that matter, offering up solutions that involve freedom, a responsible foreign policy, serious cuts in government spending, ending the status quo in washinton, and other ideas whose time has more than come.

Face it folks, there are only two parties to blame for our mess. Every election we get promises that this time things will change and yet the debt goes up, spending goes up, and freedoms and liberties go way down. Do you honestly think that either of the two guys you saw last night are actually going to change anything in any serious way (other than to make things worse)?

Get your whole family together to watch. Your children deserve to know that there are sound economic and foreign policy ideas out there that are actually in their interest rather than in the interests of the bankers and the bomb makers that run this country.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 23rd, 2012
7:23 pm

the absentee ballots are counted as long as mailed in beforehand — I do want to make sure mine is counted — don’t always vote the party line but better than just guessing since we have very little history in this state — knew lots about Ga. candidates and felt very comfortable that I was making good choices. The woman I asked for help on school board is extremely active with the schools and the board and represents parents at board meetings. She is one of the smartest women I know. Happy to take her thoughts on candidates. I also know we agree in priorities for our schools.

So what you are saying, TWG...

October 23rd, 2012
7:49 pm

…is that you are voting absentee in GA, and, even though you have lived in AZ for over a year, you have not registered to vote there? I am so confused…

Mommy Dearest

October 23rd, 2012
8:22 pm

Ahhhh…. The simple joy of not having to read the writings of Mother Jane Goose. Olive Garden, Applebee’s or some other chain must be having 1950’s night.

Observer

October 23rd, 2012
11:12 pm

There is a clear deliniation between the parties. I always vote party based on that deliniation. Never confusion.

@Mommy Dearest – we may not all agree w/MJG, however, her comments are not ever mean-spirited. Based on your comment above, you will not be viewed the same.

Kat

October 23rd, 2012
11:25 pm

Guess what? You can print out the ballot that you’ll be using and “research” on your own time – not MY time if I’m behind you. Yes, it’s your “ballot box” but still, seriously? People who only get government ID so they can vote know the issues better than most people who have access to computers 24/7.

Know how you plan to vote BEFORE you go in. The ballots are online if you have some sort of comprehension issues. These are the same idiots in the drive-thru line who have no idea what they want from a menu that really hasn’t changed in years.

the truth

October 24th, 2012
1:38 am

REALLY…REALLY? You go to the polls with no clue what is on the ballots and you want to make your decision based on information from your smartphone, standing in the ballot booth, as others are waiting on you to finish. You have issues affecting your taxes, you children’s eduction, your retirement, transportation, etc. You have the availability of television, newspapers (one you write for), and internet to help with research prior to making your decision weeks or even minutes in advance of going to the polls. You have the strange idea that you can walk into a busy situation or busy place of business (see Apple store article) and the world has to stop so you can take care of you. Confucius says success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. I am willing to wager if you went to a palm reader her first words would be “I see failure in your future”.

motherjanegoose

October 24th, 2012
4:37 am

I have one thing to say….

I have met people recently who are not interested in voting and never have been. This is something I cannot fathom.

catlady

October 24th, 2012
6:47 am

Goodness, no! I have prepared for this vote, as I do all others, for months and did not need any “help” in there.

I urge my fellow Georgians to vote NO on both amendments. A good rule of thumb: Amendments in Georgia seek to give financial rewards or benefits to SOMEONE, and you can be pretty sure it isn’t YOU. “Leadership”’s long history of self-agrandizement has been taken to new heights these last 10 years, and is now accelerating!

Me

October 24th, 2012
7:41 am

@Catlady — Very welll stated!!

david c

October 24th, 2012
7:43 am

If you need your “smart” phone to vote, you really aren’t. Smart that is. Just thought I would clear that up for the mommies.

Me

October 24th, 2012
7:44 am

And one other note — It matters not to me for whom you vote provided you know the reasons why – and can actually communicate and explain such — You don’t have to justify your choice to me or even tell me but, in your own mind, you should absolutely know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, why that person deserves your vote and confidence.

I voted yesterday in Forsyth County...

October 24th, 2012
7:54 am

…out here the only choice I had to make was between Romney and the other guy – all the other races had only one candidate for whom I could vote (unless I voted for a write-in candidate) since all were unopposed…go figure…

Voice of Reason

October 24th, 2012
7:57 am

Two words: Absentee Ballot.

/Problem solved
//You’re welcome

Mayhem

October 24th, 2012
8:17 am

Does anyone in here take their kids when they vote? I’ve always taken mine. Every time we voted, I took them with me.