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

Jedi loneblindjedi at samobile.net
Fri Nov 11 18:02:39 CST 2011


I think what we're experiencing is a shift in the tools we use as 
independent blind people. Earlier, readers and scribes were quite 
necessary for us to be independent. Now, technology has come so far 
that many of these things can be done without sighted help. I think the 
consensus among my contemporaries and me is that, while readers should 
always be considered a viable option, there is no good reason why we 
shouldn't utilize our technologies to the fullest extent possible so as 
to provide another option for people who can't use a reader or who 
don't want to.

Perhaps I'm wrong Mike. But I wonder if your preference for a scribe is 
partly due to the foreign nature of the literal independence we're 
experiencing as a result of technology. If that's so, I could see why. 
For me, it's more of a bother to use a reader sometimes and so would 
much rather find a technological solution to my problem if one might 
possibly exist. And if not or if the technological solution is too much 
of a bother, bring on the readers! But for me, this literal 
independence is just part of my lifestyle. I need a sighted person to 
help me with less and less these days. I suspect the next generation of 
blind people will probably be able to do their grocery shopping at a 
market completely without sighted assistance. In a sense, that's 
already doable if you consider online markets.

Respectfully,
Jedi
Original message:
> The history *is* interesting.  I am only interested however in an equal 
> experience to those who are visually dependent, when it is possible and 
> doable.  In this modern era of literate voters, etc, it isn't 
> unreasonable I think to push for the same independent voting ability as others.

> Again though, I'm not ashamed of using readers either.

> /s/

> Bennett Prows
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] 
> On Behalf Of Mike Freeman
> Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:30 PM
> To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List'
> Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for 
> thosewith disabilities, The Oregonian, November 7 2011

> You know: many of us justify our use of accessible voting machines by citing
> the ability to cast a secret, independent ballot. Yet for the first part of
> our history, voting was often done by moving to different sides of a room or
> by voice vote (as in a small town) and the first written ballots were
> literally written by hands. They weren't printed by state or local
> governments or the Federal government. As eligibility to vote was extended
> to people other than white males who owned property, the practical effect of
> requiring written ballots was to screen out those who were illiterate, i.e.,
> racial minorities and immigrants -- very convenient. The various political
> parties got around this by printing their own ballots which often looked
> like tickets. Hence, the phrase "he ran on the party ticket". Someone who
> was only marginally illiterate could mark his ballot (no women votes until
> 1920) and turn it in.

> But the "secret" ballots we know today actually weren't invented here but
> rather in Australia in the 1850's. In fact, government-printed ballots
> filled out in private voting booths were originally called "Australian
> ballots".

> My point was that, for the first part of our history, it was considered
> faintly shady to insist upon casting a secret ballot; the general consensus
> was that people ought to be man enough (as I say, no women until 1920) to
> cast a public vote.

> So much for a history lesson.

> Mike


> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of Kaye Kipp
> Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 9:25 PM
> To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for
> thosewith disabilities, The Oregonian, November 7 2011

> I love the accessible voting machine.  It works great.

> Kaye
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Leslie Fitzpatrick" <lfitz50 at gmail.com>
> To: "NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List" <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 7:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Oregon looks to iPad to make voting easier for
> thosewith 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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