Re: Fw: Python help needed immediately -- simple Electronic Ballot Printer

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Wed Jan 09 2008 - 19:08:02 CST

With all due respect, there are far more types of disabilities than
visual and manual. For example, someone who is both deaf and blind
could not vote independently on either a DRE or the electronic ballot
marking systems such as the AutoMark. The only type of system currently
available that would work for such an individual is some form of tactile

There also are, for example, people with learning disabilities or who
have difficult processing certain kinds of input. Such people may have
neither a visual nor a manual disability, but they still have a
disability that could impact their ability to vote.


P.S. HAVA says that voting systems shall:

> be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual
> accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that
> provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including
> privacy and independence) as for other voters;

It does not say that the voting systems should be accessible only for
people with visual or manual disabilities.

My view is that the HAVA requirement is unattainable by any single
voting system, though it might be workable if a variety of systems were
used. There are also issues of cost that I think should have been
considered in the writing of HAVA, but weren't.

Danny Swarzman wrote:
> Barbara,
> It's not disabilities generally. Just some for which voting systems
> make accommodations.
> "Enhanced access" has been used for special components designed for
> those accommodations. Doesn't flow off the tip of the tongue, but
> what can you do?
> There are really only two types of disabilities: visual and manual.
> The accommodation usually mentioned is a machine that prints paper
> ballots.
> Visually impaired voters enter their choices through audio prompts
> with voters pressing buttons. Voters with some other disabilities can
> use one of several available pointing devices.
> This is one area where it's important to be specific as well as
> inoffensive. In a discussion in San Francisco, a politician sitting
> in a wheelchair gave an impassioned speech about voters with
> disabilities. She made no connection between the plight of disabled
> voters and the decision that was before the board but it sounded like
> she did.
> -Danny
> On Jan 9, 2008, at 12:50 PM, Barbara Simons wrote:
>> Hi, Asheesh. Actually, there are far more disabilities than simply
>> vision and hearing problems. For example, ballot marking devices are
>> being attacked by some DRE supporters on the grounds that people with
>> severe mobility impairment are unable to handle the paper ballot after
>> it is printer or marked. Many elderly people have some kinds of
>> disabilities, independent of how they might actually view themselves.
>> For example, not only do vision and hearing tend to deteriorate with
>> age, but - something that election officials frequently don't think
>> about - many elderly voters have difficulty standing for a long
>> time in
>> line waiting to vote. Something as simple as providing chairs at
>> polling places would help a lot, but of course that's not especially
>> relevant to this list. Other types of disabilities involve learning
>> disorders, mental and emotional problems, etc.
>> I believe that "able bodied" is the phrase that is used. I have a
>> knowledgeable contact in the disability rights movement, and I'll
>> check
>> to see if that is the best wording. Finally, though the
>> distinction is
>> subtle, my contact has recommended that I use the phrase "people/
>> voters
>> with disabilities," rather than "disabled people/voters."
>> Regards,
>> Barbara
>> Asheesh Laroia wrote:
>>> On Wed, 9 Jan 2008, Barbara Simons wrote:
>>>> Hi, all. I realize that Alan has the best of intentions regarding
>>>> people with disabilities.
>>>> However, I feel the need to point out that classifying people as
>>>> either
>>>> "disabled" or "normal" will alienate members of the disability
>>>> rights
>>>> community - who have been fighting for years to avoid being
>>>> characterized as "abnormal" - and will make it easier for
>>>> anti-technology forces to falsely characterize technologists as
>>>> being
>>>> indifferent or worse to issues of concern to people with
>>>> disabilities.
>>> Hi Barbara,
>>> I'm new to this list. I'm not new to discussing e-voting and
>>> promoting
>>> sanity in this area.
>>> Would it be better to say "The voting system accommodates people
>>> with all
>>> levels of hearing and seeing" rather than "The voting system
>>> accommodates
>>> people of normal and abnormal hearing and seeing"?
>>> Maybe you can propose precise phrasing that helps us say what we
>>> mean in a way that is respectful, or alternately help change our (my)
>>> understanding so that we are respectful by default.
>>> Thanks!
>>> -- Asheesh.
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Received on Fri Jan 11 16:16:33 2008

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