ALBANY, N.Y. — As National Disability Voter Registration Week begins on Monday, July 15, a new secure voting machine that would dramatically improve the experience of voters with disabilities is winning the praise of advocates in New York.
Advocate Dustin Jones, of Brooklyn, was among the many who used a new universal voting system to fill out a sample ballot during a recent demonstration in Albany, just as if voting in a regular election, easily completing the process and verifying their selections.
“I absolutely love it,” said Jones, who attended the event with a group from the Center for Independence of the Disabled, Albany, New York. “It’s easy to use and very responsive. I also think it’s very inclusive.
“I’ve been voting since I was 18 and using a wheelchair for the past eight years. All of the little things that they have taken into consideration with this machine are going to make people with disabilities want to come out and vote.”
The secure, accurate ExpressVote XL uses touch-screen technology and produces a verifiable paper record for tabulation.
It is also fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing voters the option to navigate ballot selections independently using various ADA support peripherals, creating an intuitive vote selection process through the use of screen prompts, symbols and optional audio. Any and all of these features can be used by voters without poll worker assistance.
Voters can also verify the printed paper record using the same accessible devices they used when marking the ballot.
Not only does this method provide greater accessibility for the blind and those with low vision, but these features also support voters with conditions such as severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that make filling in a bubble with a pen difficult. In addition, the machine adjusts to a height comfortable for voters using a wheelchair.
“We are glad we could take part in today’s event and give these voters the opportunity to experience the machines and provide us their feedback,” Judd Ryan, Senior Vice President of sales at Election Systems and Software (ES&S) said.
“ES&S is fully committed to giving all voters the ability to vote independently and enjoy the same voting experience.”
Millions of eligible voters across New York state are individuals with a disability, including nearly 400,000 New Yorkers who are visually disabled.
In addition, an estimated 16.9 percent of non-institutionalized veterans nationally between ages 21 and 64 have a service-connected disability. New York state is home to approximately 1 million veterans.
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