As of this week, 25 states and the District of Columbia have mechanisms in place to allow new voters to register to vote and existing voters to update their information all online — no printing, no stamps, no trek to the mailbox. By all accounts online voter registration has been wildly successful in the states where it has been introduced with statewide elections officials touting the large number of people registering and updating their information. While online voter registration has opened up access to the process to thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of people not previously engaged, one segment of the population is being left out of the online wave — voters with disabilities. A review by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Accessible Technology (CAT) found that of the 20 OVR sites they visited in May 2014, only one — California’s — was completely accessible in the eyes of the review.
For the report, the CAT briefly reviewed all 20 states, and did a more in-depth review of six states — California, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Utah. According to the report, while these six states were the only ones reviewed in-depth, the remaining 14 states showed similar access problems.
The access problems included: screen reader access, semantic organization, skip navigation, alt text, keyboard access, contrast, text sizing and scaling and tab order.
“The vast majority of states that have implemented online voter registration are inadvertently barring people with disabilities, and screen reader users in particular, from making use of this new approach to voter registration,” the report summarized.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.