The Bay State Council of the Blind conducted a survey seeking information on the accessibility of voting in the Presidential election last November. You can review the results of their research here. Let’s hope this survey gets us even closer to 100% compliance for 2018!
- For a presidential election, six voters reported there was no accessible machine at their polling place. It’s likely the number would be higher for local elections. There needs to be more oversight and vigilance to ensure that all cities and towns are complying with HAVA.
- Approximately 42% of respondents took advantage of early voting, making it a popular option. Only 10% voted by absentee ballot. It’s very important for an accessible machine to be at every polling place that is open for early voting.
- One in ten voters with a disability doesn’t know if their polling place has an accessible terminal. Poll workers need to be more proactive in offering it as an option.
- One-third of poll workers would benefit from more training in the use of the terminal.
- One in ten disabled respondents said their ballot was not private. Confidentiality will be enhanced by thoughtful positioning of the terminal, good repair, and well-trained staff.
With the implementation of HAVA, Massachusetts voters with disabilities have far more privacy and independence than they had ten years ago. Unfortunately, inconsistencies remain. Most users liked the AutoMARK terminal, and most of the difficulties identified in the survey could be easily addressed with maintenance and training. More vigilance is needed to ensure a consistently positive experience for all voters.
Thanks to Disability Policy Consortium for the link.