Voting Rights: Accessibility
The vote is a fundamental right conferred to every citizen of our democracy. For this reason, voting should be made as inclusive in nature, design, and implementation as humanly possible. We should strive to increase voter participation by making the processes associated with voting accessible to all citizens regardless of physical ability, language proficiency, or language of origin.
Status: Audio Technology is available to assist voters with language or physical conditions, which preclude observation as a means of verifying vote selections. The technology uses headphones to insure voter privacy in reading punch card and mark-sense ballots. DRE technology incorporates headphones and audio devices to assist visually impaired voters and those with language limitations or other
Language barriers to voting have existed from the early days of public elections in the United States. In addition to new immigrant communities, our nation has communities who have lived in the United States for many generations, but have developed their own unique dialects or retained languages of their heritage, such as the Creole languages spoken in many of the Gulf Coast State, and the German and Dutch communities found throughout the United States. In addition to these communities there are Native America tribes who speak languages that do not have a written form, which would also complicate their ability to participate in public elections if they only were provide ballots in display form, such as paper or DRE systems.
- Election technology should provide a voter verifiable means by which each voter can independently assess the selections recorded as his or her vote(s), in a permanent unalterable record form, which must be retained for initial vote tallying and/or in theevent of any recount(s) to determine the outcome of an election.
- All voters should have unassisted access to vote in public elections regardless of their physical condition, age, language proficiency, or language of origin.
- The applicable provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act should apply to the physical location of polling places to allow ease of access for all voters regardless of physical condition.
- Congress should fully fund the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) responsibilities as outlined in the Help America Vote Act.
- Programs that develop and promulgate voting technology that facilitate independent
- voting by those with special needs should be fully funded.
- All voting systems deployed for use in public elections must meet the “one-person, one-vote” rule of participation.
- Any voting system that has been proven to disenfranchise voters must be banned for use in all public elections.
- There should be universal adoption of reader technology at each polling location suited for each voting method that would allow independent voting and verification of selections on paper ballots.
- Electronic voting equipment failures will occur; therefore, alternative means of voting must be present at each polling location.
All the above information is courtesy of the National Committee for Voting Integrity