No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.
— U.S. Supreme Court, Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)
Voters who cannot successfully cast a vote that reflects their intent cannot excercise their right.
A New Approach to
Accessibility Standards for Electronic Voting Systems
As we make new voting systems, we have the potential
to make them easier for everyone to use.
We can avoid situations where voters must choose between the risk of miscasting their votes on a hard-to-use mainstream machine or accepting the stigma of using a “disability enabled” machine that has the features they need to vote confidently.
Proposed new approach:
Instead of having:
- standard voting systems for 80%
- and special voting systems for 20%
Enhance the usability of the mainstream voting systems so that:
- 98-99% can use mainstream voting systems
- and only 1-2% would need a special interface
- By adding "touch-to-hear," "voice-confirm" and easy-to-use controls to all electronic voting machines, you can end up with extended usability systems that work for most everyone and can reduce error as well.
- Plug-in modules can then be used that would connect to these systems and provide the special tactile interface needed by those with no vision at all or those who need to connect special input switches.
In this manner, the usability of the mainstream voting machines can be extended to cover most disabilities — particularly those experienced by older individuals. Yet, the needs of those with more extensive needs can be met as well.
To learn more:
Trace Research and Development Center
College of Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone - 608.262.6966
Accessible Voting Page
The contents of this publication were developed under grants
H133E98008 and H133E030012 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education. These contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you
should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.