Accessibility

Issues related to accessibility and individuals with disabilities.

Highlights of EAC Accessible Voting Research and Development: The Impact on Elections

June 20, 2014
| Presentations

The EAC and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) are hosting the “Highlights of EAC Accessible Voting Research and the Impact on Elections” webinar, to conclude the EAC’s Accessible Voting Technology Initiative (AVTI) grant. This webinar will be held Friday, June 20, from 1:30 – 3:00 PM; speakers will discuss the importance of the AVTI research, highlight the results of this research, and present how this research can be applied to the approaching and future elections. Election officials are especially encouraged to attend. Manufacturers, researchers, accessibility advocates, and the general public are also welcome to attend and participate in the discussions.  You can view more information about the webinar and register at http://www.eac.gov/nist_accessible_voting_tech_webinars_june_20_/

To view the archived recordings of the previous AVT webinars, visit the AVT portal at http://www.nist.gov/itl/vote/accessiblevoting/avt-webinars.cfm. Questions about the webinars can be sent via email to  avtvote@nist.gov.

Universal Design Can Improve Voting for Disabled Voters

Scripps Howard
ITIF hosted a panel discussion and technology demonstration designed to enhance voting accessibility for the disabled.

State and local election officials should adopt the use of online voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting to improve the accessibility of elections for disabled individuals.

Although the gap in participation between voters with and without disabilities has narrowed, people with disabilities are still less likely to vote than people without disabilities. In particular, individuals with a cognitive difficulty, a self-care difficulty, or an independent-living difficulty, vote at significantly lower rates than individuals with no disability. These individuals may have trouble leaving their homes or navigating crowded, noisy environments, so efforts designed to make voting machines and polling places physically more accessible may not address their primary needs. Some states have made changes to election processes to make them more convenient for everyone, such as allowing “no-excuse” absentee voting (i.e., any voter can vote absentee) and creating a permanent absentee voting list (i.e., voters can sign up to receive automatically an absentee ballot for all future elections). While people with disabilities are more likely to vote in states that have made these changes, these reforms have not been adopted everywhere.

Increasing Voting Accessibility

May 16, 2014
Daniel Castro discusses the policy reforms and technology innovations that can improve voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities on Sirius XM POTUS.

Daniel Castro discusses the policy reforms and technology innovations that can improve voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities on Sirius XM POTUS.

Innovations in Elections: Making Voting Accessible for Everyone

May 14, 2014 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
First Amendment Room at the National Press Club
529 14th St NW
13th Floor Ballroom
Washington
DC
20045

Voting is an important activity for citizens in any democracy, but when elections are not accessible for people with disabilities, as many as 20 percent of potential U.S. voters—47 million individuals—face barriers to voting. While elections are more accessible today than in years past, more progress is needed. Advances in technology have created new opportunities for innovation in elections. Read more »

Innovations For Accessible Elections

May 14, 2014
| Reports

In 2011, ITIF received a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to help make elections more accessible for people with disabilities. ITIF worked with research teams across the country to assess the current state of accessibility in elections, identify where technology has not lived up to its potential, and build innovative solutions to meet voters’ needs.

We reviewed every part of the election process, from registering to vote to casting a ballot. Our goal was to discover innovative ideas for elections that are:

  • Universal, so everyone can use the same technology
  • Flexible, allowing for differences in voter needs, election procedures, and state laws
  • Robust, based on best practices and able to keep up with technological change

In addition to launching focused research projects to make improvements in voting system hardware, user interfaces, ballot designs, voter education materials, and poll worker training, we also created an open, collaborative process that would allow anyone to contribute ideas. In the end, we designed, built, and tested a number of innovative solutions to help bring us closer to the day when all citizens, with or without a disability, can vote privately, securely, and independently. This report catalogs some of these achievements.

Utilizing Technology to Improve Accessibility in Elections

Innovations in Elections: Making Voting Accessible for Everyone

Will Open Government Be Accessible for People with Disabilities?

February 3, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

As the open government movement picks up steam, there is potential for the “digital divide” to eventually become the “government gap” wherein access to government grows for some groups and declines for others. In particular, open government advocates and policymakers need to be cognizant of the extent to which open government projects deliver benefits for people with disabilities. Castro discuses the problem and potential solutions in this piece for Open Government: Global Perspectives.

EAC Grant Funding: Accessibility Research, Election Administration and Voting Systems

May 9, 2013
| Presentations

Senior Analyst Daniel Castro will be part of the EAC discussion on the results of grant funded work and how recent innovations in accessibility research may be applied to the future of election administration and voting systems. The event will be webcast live & feature a Twitterfall on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Visit the EAC website for more information.