[nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for those with disabilities, The Oregonian, November 7 2011
Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR)
Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Wed Nov 9 15:45:07 CST 2011
Well, Mike, the use of a "trusted" amanuensis is of course one answer. If we use that theory though, I guess we have to resign ourselves to the fact that our vote will never be completely secret. I for one think there probably will be a way, using technology to get the privacy some crave, so we don't require an amanuensis at some point. The closest we've gotten was to use the voting machine at the polling place. Vote by mail certainly has screwed that up.
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Mike Freeman
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 12:39 PM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for those with disabilities, The Oregonian, November 7 2011
I confess that I agree with the attorney quoted in the article that I don't see how use of the iPad is much of a solution for blind voters. One still needs the printer and must sign the printed ballot (which one would not know had printed correctly). I realize I'm a minority of one but I still say the simplest solution is the old-fashioned one of using a trusted amanuensis.
On Nov 9, 2011, at 10:28, "Nightingale, Noel" <Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov> wrote:
> Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for those with disabilities
> November 07, 2011
> By Ryan Kost, The Oregonian
> Photo by Rick Bowmer/The Associated Press
> Lewis Crew, 75, receives help from a member of an assistance team while voting on a iPad, in Beaverton, Ore. Using an iPad, disabled voters will be able to call up the right ballot and tap the screen to pick a candidate.
> Oregon elections officials are turning to iPads in a new attempt to make voting as easy and accessible as possible for disabled voters.
> In a small pilot program playing out during the special primary election to replace former U.S. Rep. David Wu, about 12 voters have filled out their ballots on Apple's touch-screen tablet.
> As far as elections officials in Oregon can tell, it's a first for any state.
> "We're really at the edge," said Secretary of State Kate Brown. "We want to make voting as convenient as possible."
> It's been about five years since the office has invested in a new system for voters with disabilities -- a lifetime when it comes to technology. So, with the system nearing the end of its life, the office decided to experiment with new approaches, including laptops and various tablet computers.
> "It became very clear, very quickly, the iPad was the best solution," said Steve Trout, the state's elections director.
> The iPad, Trout says, offers a huge amount of flexibility. For those who have issues with vision, the iPad can read the ballot aloud. They also have the option of adjusting text size and colors. Voters can sign with their fingers or with pens, whichever suits their needs. And the tablet can be controlled using sip-and-puff wands for those who don't have full use of their hands.
> After voters make their selections, they can print a ballot, which they put in an envelope and sign as usual.
> Elections officials have taken the new system to assisted living centers during the primary, along with a portable printer the size of a suitcase. So far, the results have been promising.
> The tools the state has been relying on for the past five years, Brown said, include heavily modified laptop computers that are "extremely cumbersome and outdated."
> Julie Anderson, an attorney with Disability Rights Oregon, isn't so sure the iPad will make the portable systems all that much more convenient. There's still the matter of the printer and some other equipment, she said.
> "I'm a little leery that this is going to increase access," Anderson said. "The issue is not the weight or the bulk" so much has having the resources to get people out into the communities.
> Still, she added, "I applaud any county's efforts to get out there" and if the iPads help that, then all the better.
> For the first go around, each of the five counties that make up a piece of the 1st Congressional District have one iPad, all of which were donated by Apple, Trout said. The state invested $75,000 to develop the voting software, with guidance from community advocates. Those funds came from federal grants.
> The counties will use the iPads again for the special general election in January. After that, officials will review the new system. If they press forward, Trout said, he'd like to see two tablets in each county, which would set the state back $36,000 at full cost.
> Even so, that's a bargain given that Oregon spent $325,000 during the last biennium to keep the current system up to date, he said. "It's just easier and simpler both for the voter and the county elections officials."
> -- Ryan Kost
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