Automatically measure wait times
at polling places with Qubie

Qubie is a small computer that can automatically measure how long voters wait in line to cast their ballots on election day. Qubie does this this by using public wireless signals from smartphones and wearables to measure how long voters wait in line at a polling place. Throughout the day, Qubie can build a detailed picture of waiting time, delays, and smooth stretches by time of day. The data Qubie produces is 100% anonymous and can help election officials better understand the needs of polling places by providing straightforward queue data. The data can then be used in conjunction with other information to better allocate resources and poll workers, in order to ensure election days go smoothly.

Qubie is built on open hardware and its software is open source. It is available for jurisdictions to implement themselves at no cost.

Measuring wait times

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration—formed by Executive Order 13639 in response to the long lines witnessed in the 2012 elections, and published in January 2014—has as one of its key recommendations:

Jurisdictions should develop models and tools to assist them in effectively allocating resources across polling places.

The supporting best practice cited in the report reads:

Election officials should keep track of wait times at individual polling places using simple management techniques, such as recording line length at regular intervals during Election Day and giving time-stamped cards to voters during the day to monitor turnout flow.

Qubie is a low-cost, open source solution to this problem. It lasts for years, its cost is lower than even the least expensive recommendation (that of printing out and managing stamped cards for a single election, given the cost of poll workers and materials) and it provides features unavailable in any publicly available, privacy-preserving technology:

  • detailed privacy-preserving logging of voter wait time for election administrators to analyze and optimize their polling places on Election Day and in postmortem,
  • an automatically constructed analytical model of the polling place to determine where the pinch points of its election process are, and
  • the ability to help election officials automatically publish the current wait time at all polling places on Election Day.

Qubie is distributed under a 3-clause BSD license, and is available on GitHub at