Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that Connecticut will have a new accessible ballot marking system at polling places statewide on Election Day, Nov. 8 that is designed to improve the voting experience for people with disabilities. “We know that people with disabilities are some of Connecticut’s most active and engaged citizens and that they will be a force in this year’s presidential election. We want to make sure that when they turn out to vote this November, they have the most high-tech services available,” Merrill said. The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number to enter the system. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.
Voters with disabilities will no longer, in the words of Secretary of State Denise Merrill, be forced to use “the clunky old system” when voting on Nov. 8. On Monday, Merrill and advocates for the disabled showed off the state’s new $1.5 million, state-of-the-art computerized system that will allow Connecticut’s disabled voters to first vote, and then print their ballots. “I am very excited about this,’’ Merrill said. “It is a real improvement over our old system. The beauty of it is people with disabilities will be able to vote just like everyone else.’’ The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.
Maine: New accessible voting system will accommodate voters with disabilities | The Portland Press Herald
The state will debut new voting devices during the June primaries that will make it easier for voters with disabilities to cast secret ballot. The ExpressVote system has a video display screen and built-in ballot printer. It’s both audio and visual, allowing a voter to make selections by touching the screen or using a controller that has different-shaped colored buttons with Braille labels. Before this new device was chosen by the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, towns used a phone line that allows voters with disabilities to listen to an audio ballot and select the choices by pressing a button. A few hundred voters used those devices, according to Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state. She hopes the ExpressVote system will attract many more potential voters. “I think it’s more intuitive,” she said. “I don’t think it takes as much instruction as the one we had.”
New Hampshire: Tablet-Based Ballot System for Blind Voters to Debut During Primary | New Hampshire Public Radio
Voting may be a right for everyone, but for those with vision impairment, casting a ballot privately can be a challenge. New Hampshire election officials are hoping to change that with the rollout of a new accessible voting system, called “one4all,” during Tuesday’s primary. “I believe we’re one of the first if not the first state to fully adapt tablet-based technology,” says David Morgan, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. “It’s a tablet-based system, so there’s a keyboard. There’s a voice entry which is not enabled at this point. And there’s a tablet that is both a touch screen, a voice output, and an enter button so that you can listen to the candidates be scrolled. As you hear the candidate you want, you can press enter, or later on for the fall, enter a voice command.”
Federal authorities are investigating possible privacy and disability act violations in the way Connecticut’s towns and cities require handicapped Americans to vote in referendum elections. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ndidi N. Moses sent a letter dated Feb. 1, to most, if not all, of the first selectmen, mayors and town managers of the state’s 169 municipalities informing them of the probe. It advises them a complaint was filed contending violations of federal civil rights laws and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Specifically, the allegation charges that voting by paper ballots, which are then segregated and hand-counted, violates privacy and secrecy requirements that are afforded non-disabled voters. U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said her office is acting on a complaint “that certain cities and towns in Connecticut may not be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act during referendum voting.”
New Hampshire: Federal Investigation of Concord Raises Questions About Voting Accessibility in N.H. | New Hampshire Public Radio
The federal government is investigating the City of Concord for not providing accessible voting machines for people with certain disabilities during local elections. The city may have violated federal law. Guy Woodland used his cane to find his way into a voting booth in Concord Tuesday morning. Woodland is blind. “I have a non-valid driver’s license,” he told a poll worker, “which you’re probably happy to know.” Here’s how Woodland would like to vote: on his own, with no help. As it is though, he walks into the voting booth with a poll worker. Woodland dictates his voting choices, and the poll worker, who is sworn to secrecy, fills in the bubbles. That’s despite technology – sitting on a shelf in New Hampshire – that would allow Woodland to vote without any help.