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Accessible Voting in Illinois Polling Place Access, Universal Design, and Accessible Absentee Voting – Taking Illinois to the “Next Level” August 25, 2010. This Presentation. Part I: Accessibility of Polling Places Overview on Accessibility Where Illinois is

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This presentation

Accessible Voting in IllinoisPolling Place Access, Universal Design, and Accessible Absentee Voting – Taking Illinois to the “Next Level”August 25, 2010

This presentation

This Presentation

  • Part I: Accessibility of Polling Places

    • Overview on Accessibility

      • Where Illinois is

    • Solutions for Accessibility of Sites

  • Part II: Beyond Site Access: Next Generation Access Solutions – Universal Design

    • Accessible Voting Booths and Devices upgrades

    • Accessible Absentee Voting and next-generation accessible voting for all

FYI Accessible Versions of this presentation also available

Who we are

Who We Are

Work with advocates and people with disabilities nationwide

Leading provider of accessibility solutions for elections

Work with 50 states and several territories

250 solutions for polling place access

Assistance with survey review, access solutions, accessible voting accessories and more

Also work on service station access, business access, and drive thrus for the deaf and hard of hearing

Illinois has always been a leader on accessibility of the electoral process

Illinois Has Always Been A Leader On Accessibility of the Electoral Process

But Inclusion Solutions (and Everyone Counts) can help take Illinois to the Next Level and remain a national leader!

Site Access

  • Early work making great strides on site access

  • Largely accessible polling locations but still many improvements could be made

  • History of surveys of sites – but could be done again.

    Other Machine Accessibility

  • Polling place

  • AutoMARK

  • No next generation accessible absentee

    Other Comments

  • Remaining HHS Funding -- an opportunity to improve things further

  • Advocates in this room and others have worked to improve accessibility to elections

Scope of polling place access

Scope of Polling Place Access

  • GAO Report 2001 – 67% fully inaccessible

  • GAO Report 2009 – much improved but work to do

  • For the 2008 elections, the GAO estimated that 27% of polling places had no access barriers, including at parking, building entrances, or on the route to voting areas. This was an improvement from 16% in 2000

  • Thus it’s improving – but there is still work to do

  • Unique Problems

    • Sites not controlled or operated officials

    • Homes, churches or clubs not covered by ADA

    • And even ADA – Covered ones not always accessible

    • Political and Cost limitations

Solving polling place access

Solving Polling Place Access

  • Many locations are in private facilities such as private homes and churches – sites that aren’t covered by the ADA 363 days/year –Election Officials don’t control or operate these sites

  • Some public sites SHOULD have been made accessible many years ago – but have not been

  • Public monies can’t really be spent on private facilities for permanent changes (separation of church and state)

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Inclusion Solutions Has Provided Hundreds of Polling Place Access Products to IL

Quicky Show Several Solutions

  • Parking Lots

    • Unpaved lots – matting

    • Lack of Signage

      • Permanent and temporary signs

    • Lack of parking/access aisle

      • Stripe or set up cones -- both available

    • Creation of accessible parking space

More solutions for creating accessible parking

More Solutions for Creating Accessible Parking

  • Creation of accessible parking space in where there is none or creation of street or lot parking

Ramps many different types available for all types of needs

Ramps: Many Different Types Available for All Types of Needs

  • Thresholds – rubber and alumninum

  • Suitcase

  • Pathway w or w/o Handrails

  • Level Landing



  • Crucially Important

Door hardware and door weight solutions

Door Hardware and Door Weight Solutions

  • Some are Quite Simple….

    • Tape thumb latch

    • Leave doors open

    • Door stop

  • Door Hardware Retrofits

    • Some can be simple

Alert systems for door hardware and weight and other access issues

Alert Systems for Door Hardware and Weight and Other Access Issues

  • Alert systems

    • these are available and will solve issues

    • allows voter to push button and request assistance with heavy door, bad door hardware, locked entrance, etc…..(pushbutton oversized, ADA compliant, etc.)

    • Available in both permanent installs and temporary – that is packed in case, unpacked, brought out on election day, etc. Over 10,000 of them nationally

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Inclusion Solutions Can Also Provide Other Solutions for “Privacy and Independence”

  • Magnifiers (new BallotMag designed for elections and paper ballots from the ground up)

  • Signature Guides

  • Complete Interior Accessibility Kits – some states have bought these for each polling location

This presentation

There are Also Upgrades to Make Exisiting System Better

  • Two-switch

  • Sip N’ Puff

  • Headset Covers

The future universal design in elections where we are and what s next

The Future: Universal Design in Elections Where We Are and What’s Next

  • Physical access is much improved – but there is still work to be done

  • All Are Now looking for the “next generation” of access

  • At some locations, voting systems aren’t portable and can’t be brought outside

  • Some voters have transportation problems preventing access

  • Some are uncomfortable with a “different” disability machine

  • Absentee voting remains inaccessible



Accessibility and sensitivity training

Accessibility and Sensitivity Training

  • Role plays to give pollworkers experience interacting with voters with disabilities

Universally designed products

Universally Designed Products

  • Solves issues for voters with and without disabilities

    • 4 station booth all go to same location – not a “separate” disability booth or system

  • Non-discriminatory

Accessibility next generation

Accessibility -- Next Generation

  • The next voting system must remain accessible – as mandated by HAVA

  • Must be accessible for voters who:

    • Are blind/low vision

    • Have limited use of hands

  • Must meet section 301 standards – and allow an individual who can’t take paper ballot out of an AutoMARK to vote privately

  • System must allows voters with disabilities to vote anywhere – at the polling place, the board of elections, an independent living center, or on any computer

  • Must allow the voter to vote

    • Independently

    • Privately

  • Voting solution must work:

    • With assistive technology

    • Without assistive technology

  • A system that integrates with a voter’s existing assistive technology rather than requiring new

  • A system with multiple options for accessibility

  • A system that all advocates are comfortable with

  • A “universally designed” system that looks and operates the same for all voters

Problems with current solutions

Problems With Current Solutions

Existing Solutions Don’t Work – for Access and More

  • Issue #1: UOCAVA and MOVE

    • Absentee, Early and UOCAVA voting remain inaccessible with all current solutions

  • Issue #2: Accessibility

    • Accessible Absentee voting is not provided

    • AutoMARKs can’t be expanded to this

    • Privacy: There is no privacy for voters with disabilities when ballots are printed out and transferred

    • Lack of portability: AutoMARKs are extraordinarily heavy – and can’t be brought out curbside to a voter who cannot enter a polling place

    • Imposition of new technology: Voters with disabilities are forced to use the assistive technology included with either DRE systems or the AutoMARK (e.g. the interface or add ons like 2-switch paddles) – this can be difficult or may not work for some voters

Dream solution

Dream Solution

  • Keep Current Level of Accessibility

  • Improve on it to allow accessible absentee voting

  • Allow “ballot on demand” with multiple styles

  • Multiple options for voting

  • Yet at the same time, meet “MOVE” requirements and solve Military/UOCHAVA

  • Remain competitive in terms of cost – but only remain one system rather than three stopgaps

Inclusion solutions everyone counts have such a solution

Inclusion Solutions & Everyone Counts Have Such a Solution

All of the benefits of DREs in that it can securely and privately transmit the ballot electronically (with military-grade encryption)

Absentee and UOCAVA voting that is also accessible

All of the benefits of the AutoMARK or a paper-based system in that it can also print out a ballot and create a paper trail

Best of all, it’s a “universally designed” voting platform. Voters with and without disabilities are voting on the same system. You would only need one voting system statewide throughout Illinois – and it would serve all of these different constituencies

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Unprecedented Accessibility

Voters Can Use it at the polling place, at an “alternative accessible voting area” or outside of the polling place if the site is inaccessible.

Next generation accessibility in areas that no other system can

Next-generation Accessibility in Areas that No Other System Can

  • It integrates with voter’s existing technology – rather than forcing new technology

  • Accessible Absentee Voting

    • AAPD is considering litigation

    • This is the only system that creates accessible online voting

  • Creation of solution for voting for military and overseas voters with disabilities

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Experience: Solutions for Voters with Disabilities Developed with Advocates

Critical to any access solution is working with local and national advocates as part of the process

That’s why it’s exciting to have both advocates and members of the election community here


Experience accessibility in actual elections

Experience: Accessibility in Actual Elections

Other technology has been used in the 2009 elections in Hawaii and in Washington State (as well as worldwide), where it provided unprecedented accessibility for voters with disabilities. Everyone Counts and Inclusion Solutions is also close to agreements with several other states to implement this technology in the near future.

Franklin County Washington used it as an unprecedented accessible “Vote by Mail” solution during the 2009 elections

Orange County Florida Pilot for 2010

Ultimate goal one voting system for all

Ultimate Goal: One Voting System for All

  • Long Term Goal:

    • Step 1: Introduce an election solution that allows Illinois voters to cast their ballot independently, privately, accurately, reliably and securely in conjunction with the current legislation while protecting and expanding UOCAVA and accessibility and complying with MOVE

    • Step 2: Use this same platform so ALL voters are voting on the same system that works for everyone!

  • Some day Illinois could have a single voting system that can be used by everyone – with or without disabilities, from anywhere



  • Solutions in Suite

    • eLect Today (will provide link)

    • Telephone Alternative

    • eLect Universal/eLect Access

      • “two way communication”

      • Truly private delivery of ballots

Questions and answers

Questions and Answers

  • Comments, Questions and Answers?

Contact information

Contact Information

Hollister Bundy

(847) 869-2500

Paul DeGregorio


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