disability advocates

Polling place accessibility for individuals with disabilities

Election Technology Designers Seek Input from Voters with Disabilities

For Immediate Release
Monday, January 2, 2017
Douglas Towne

Election Technology Designers Seeking Input from Voters with Disabilities

Votec Corporation one of the most experienced election administration firms and Disability Relations Group (DRG) a leader in disability elder public policy have joined forces. The fruits of this union will be the next evolution in accessible and user-friendly voting and election administration systems.

“Last time accessible voting was being discussed, the election equipment companies gave voters with disabilities what they thought we needed. This time Votec is asking us to help design both voting and election administration systems. The result will be a level of access and user friendliness that will be leaps and bounds ahead of current systems.” said Douglas Towne, Chairman of DRG. He went on, “The combined intent of Votec and DRG is not only to make voting more accessible and user-friendly to more voters with a wider range of needs but to make election administration systems equally as accessible and user-friendly. This will open up not only volunteer but employment positions as well within the election administration field for people with disabilities.”

John Medcalf Chief Executive Officer of Votec added, “The growing population of people with disabilities and elders deserve better than what is available currently in the voting and election administration space. I am convinced that if we expand access and user-friendliness for those with a wide range of needs we will make things better for everyone. This will expand voter participation and civic involvement.” I was in this business for thirty plus years before I ever considered just how many citizens with disabilities were being left out of the process. Over the last ten plus years, I have watched the efforts of others and found them wanting as have the disability elder communities themselves. We are seeking to design a system that is a continuum of access that can use the same platform to seek new levels of participation as technology and public policy evolves. I don’t face the kind of access issues that are of concern and that is why our involving the disabled and elder communities is so vital. When we say “Votec Designed For All, we really mean it.”

Votec and DRG are launching a national listening campaign to gather input and expertise to guide them in the development of this next evolution in voting and election administration systems.
The survey will be an ongoing process utilizing social media to keep participants current with results, invite them to answer new questions prompted by previous responses and new ideas/concepts brought forward by survey participants.
The listening campaign goes live online in January 2017 and will stay open for comment throughout the

year. They invite everyone to participate by going to:
www.votecdesignedforall.com or www.votecd4a.com

About Votec – Voting Technology Designed for All

Our mission is to advocate for technologies that facilitate individual and private access for people with disabilities to the election process so that they may participate in our republic with dignity and inclusion. We are a technology firm committed to listening to consumers as we develop voting technology that is designed with input from voters with disabilities, poll workers, advocates, family members, and election officials. Since HAVA (Help America Vote Act) was passed, technologies were developed, however people with disabilities were not consulted much during the development of what were, at the time, advanced systems. These initial systems are now aging, and new technology is in development which will allow for accessibility not just at the voting machine, but throughout the election process. Technology has now advanced so that accessibility is not just during the act of voting itself. Accessibility can be facilitated throughout the process from registration, to check-in to casting the ballot. Votec is committed to developing technology that is capable of providing an independent and private voting experience so that every individual can participate in the democratic process.