[nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for those with disabilities, The Oregonian, November 7 2011

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Wed Nov 9 22:12:00 CST 2011


The accessible voting systems work quite well; I agree with les on that one.
This assumes, of course, that one isn't uptight about possible jiggering of
the machines to manipulate the results. That wasn't my point. The point of
the Oregon experiment was to provide a means for people with disabilities
who cannot or will not leave their homes to make it easier to vote. In that
sense, I didn't think the iPad option offered much new. I could be wrong,
however.

I still find it highly ironic that about the time we got accessible voting
legislation through the state and Federal legislatures, we went to
vote-by-mail (which, incidentally, I am opposed to and Connie likes).

Mike


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Leslie Fitzpatrick
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 7:38 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 think the accessible voting machines work great. 
I use them all the time I am so glad we have them We never got them in
Oklahoma but we sure got promises though.On Nov 9, 2011, at 10:28 AM,
Nightingale, Noel wrote:

> 
> Link:
>
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/11/oregon_turns_to_ipad_to
_make_v.html
> 
> Text:
> 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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