A study carried out by USA Today and seven other newspapers in 2001 concluded that faulty design, not punch-card machines, was responsible for voters’ confusion in Palm Beach County in 2000. Despite this finding, states have focused their election-reform energies on upgrading old punch-card machines to optical-scan systems or on implementing electronic voting. They have dismissed or ignored the butterfly layout’s problematic design as an aberration—a stupid mistake on the part of local officials. —Jessie Scanlon —Wanted: A Legible Voting Ballot (Slate)
See also “Why Usability Testing Matters” — my quick-n-dirty treatment of the Florida presidential ballot that caused so much controversy in 2000. While usability got a bit of broader exposure due to that flap, it looks like local officials haven’t tackled the real problem yet.