Electronic Voting Accessibility

Electronic voting has many advantages, such as reducing the time that it takes to count votes and provide results, but the equipment used should feature proper accessibility for the benefit of disabled voters. For example, individuals with low vision experience trouble accessing voting systems due to small print, or the inability to clearly see the position of text blocks on the screen. E-voting systems are frequently inaccessible to blind people because of the nature of the process requiring a sighted guide. Moreover, the environment in which the voting system takes place can cause problems for people with physical disabilities. The use of small controls, like push buttons or touch screens, and insufficient reach or strength to use a voting machine will impair them when it comes to casting a vote using electronic means.

People with learning impairments may find comprehending and following the voting process using a touch screen or direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machine a discouraging experience, while the elderly population require electronic voting systems to contain a combination of auditory, visual and cognitive features to be able to keep their independence when exercising the right of voting. In order to make voting accessible to all people, voting areas should be on an accessible level such as the ground floor of a building, and have wheelchair access, special ramps and handrails as necessary.

Furthermore, polling booths should be at table height, to grant access to wheelchair users; polling station staff should be given disability awareness training; adequate parking spaces near to the entrance of the polling station should be available, with a hard, non-slip surface and well-lit path to the polling station; adequate lighting inside the polling station and large and clearly visible signs are also recommended. Finally, voting forms should be available in a variety of languages, with a large print option and a tactile option to view the forms; and have a simple layout familiar to the voters.


Important Topics