WASHINGTON (October 18, 2012) – A project funded as part of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s (ITIF) Accessible Voting Technology Initiative announced the release of a beta version of its "no-cost-to-the-user" Voter Information Guide® (VIG). VIG is being developed by Apps4Android, Inc. and is being funded by ITIF through a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The purpose of this grant is to support the development of technologies that will increase the accessibility of elections for all voters.
VIG was designed to help voters, including those who are blind or have visual disabilities, find personalized election information based on their address. This information is not always available to voters in an accessible format. The app will allow voters to identify their official polling location, the candidates on the ballot, and everything else voters need to know to knowledgeably cast their vote.
ITIF Senior Analyst Daniel Castro who spearheads ITIF’s work on accessibility said, “The rapid advance of technology is unlocking new ways to make it easier for all Americans to participate in elections. This new app is one example of how mobile devices are going to continue to make the voting process more accessible for everyone.”
Steve Jacobs, President of IDEAL Group and CEO of Apps4Android, added, “ITIF's focus on promoting technological innovation is what enabled our company to develop an accessible Voter Information Guide... and we are thankful for their wonderful support and encouragement.”
To begin, the app prompts users to enter their address. The app then submits the address information to Google's Civic Information API and retrieves voting information specific to that address. Information includes, among other things, polling place, early voting location, candidate data, and election official information. Before being presented to the user, this information is automatically compiled into an accessible eBook designed to be read by IDEAL Group Reader®, a fully accessible, "no-cost-to-the-user" ePub 3 Reader (or any other ePub 3 Reader on any platform). If the user does not have an ePub 3 reader installed on their Android device at the time the ePub is generated, they will be provided the opportunity to download IDEAL Group Reader® which will automatically load their customized voter information guide and present it to them as an eBook.
The beta version of the app is being made available on the Google Play Store so potential users can test it and submit feedback.