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

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Thu Jan 10 2008 - 15:36:41 CST


Enhanced Access means that any person should be able to use the device. I agree with you that there is a continuous spectrum of different abilities (not necessarily DIS-abilities) that may or may not map to the available means to access the voting process. The consensus is that the provision of hand marked ballots in a precinct scan system works best for most, but not all, people.

Some of the people for whom paper ballots are not suitable would prefer an audio interaction capability (VoiceVoting), while others would want a touch-responsive or tactile means of access. People who neither hear nor see might prefer a Braille access device. We should not question why people want specific access; it is enough that they do want a variety of means. It is up to us to then produce a system with alternative means for different people who make up the voting public.

All of the above features are planned for OpenScan as part of its standard offering, with different peripheral devices used for different preferences and different access methods. VoiceVoting requires a headset (earphones + mic) and Braille requires an interface which substitutes for the monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Each means of access will result in a paper ballot which can be scanned; in each case, the scanned ballot can be fed back to the voter so that the voter may approve what is on the paper ballot.

No matter what the access, the means of voting through a marked paper ballot are the same. The scanning is the same, and only the I/O access differs.

We at Open Voting Solutions believe that the incorporation of enhanced access into the standard voting system is the best means of serving the needs of all Americans for access and equal accommodation. We are focused on what people who vote want and need, on their access preferences, not on the machine requirements so much as the requirements people have for access to voting.

-- Dick

Barbara Simons <> wrote: 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.
OVC-discuss mailing list
By sending email to the OVC-discuss list, you thereby agree to release the content of your posts to the Public Domain--with the exception of copyrighted material quoted according to fair use, including publicly archiving at

OVC-discuss mailing list
By sending email to the OVC-discuss list, you thereby agree to release the content of your posts to the Public Domain--with the exception of copyrighted material quoted according to fair use, including publicly archiving at
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Fri Jan 11 16:16:33 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Jan 11 2008 - 16:16:35 CST