19 January 2006
Vote-PAD Rocks the Disabled Vote
Wired News - 01.19.06
Touch-screen ballot machines billed as the ideal solution for disabled voters are facing unexpected competition from a newly designed system using inexpensive plastic sleeves and paper.
Called the Voting-on-Paper Assistive Device, or Vote-PAD, the device has won high marks from some advocates for the disabled, and has already been selected for use in California's Yolo County in order to meet federal voting-accessibility requirements.
With Vote-PAD, poll workers fit specially designed sleeves over paper ballots. Audio instructions guide visually impaired voters to bumps on the plastic next to each race. Holes in the sleeve corresponding to ovals on the ballot allow voters to mark the ballot with a pencil or pen without going outside the oval. Afterward, voters can run a specially designed LED wand over the ovals to verify their choices.
"This is a very generic, very simple solution," said Freddie Oakley, Yolo County's registrar of voters. "We don't have to train poll workers to do anything complicated."
[...] Vote-PAD works for both hand-counted ballots and optical-scan paper ballots that pass through an electronic reader. One drawback is that the system is better for small counties than large populations that speak multiple languages.
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