Innovations For Accessible Elections

Daniel Castro May 14, 2014
May 14, 2014
Technology offers many opportunities to increase the accessibility of elections for people with disabilities.

In 2011, ITIF received a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to help make elections more accessible for people with disabilities. ITIF worked with research teams across the country to assess the current state of accessibility in elections, identify where technology has not lived up to its potential, and build innovative solutions to meet voters’ needs.

We reviewed every part of the election process, from registering to vote to casting a ballot. Our goal was to discover innovative ideas for elections that are:

  • Universal, so everyone can use the same technology
  • Flexible, allowing for differences in voter needs, election procedures, and state laws
  • Robust, based on best practices and able to keep up with technological change

In addition to launching focused research projects to make improvements in voting system hardware, user interfaces, ballot designs, voter education materials, and poll worker training, we also created an open, collaborative process that would allow anyone to contribute ideas. In the end, we designed, built, and tested a number of innovative solutions to help bring us closer to the day when all citizens, with or without a disability, can vote privately, securely, and independently. This report catalogs some of these achievements.