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Portland Used iPads for Accessible Voting Before It Was Cool

Oregon became the first state to test the use of iPads to aid disabled voters last year. They ran the pilot of software developed by a company called Everyone Counts.

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Written by DeletedUser

You can learn more about Oregon's test using iPads for disabled voters in the included video or in this article from the New York Times: Oregon Tests iPads as Aid to Disabled Voters

The solution was developed by a company called Everyone Counts and marks the first test of its kind in the United States. As the video indicates, there are several important issues involved in testing this solution:
In times of budgetary constraints, is providing iPads a feasible solution?
How do we ensure a paper trail to defend the accuracy of votes?
How is the voting administered?

Although this solution looks very promising, how it scales will be an interesting challenge. Currently, staff need to administer the electronic ballot in person. What checks are put in place to make it absolutely certain that a voter is not pressured or tricked into voting a certain way? In the privacy of a home or car, pressure from an administrator to vote a certain way could be more easily transferred than in public places. Nonetheless, there is likely a way to combine solutions like this one with the right environment in order to achieve the same level of confidence that traditional voting facilitates.

Looking forward to seeing what new iterations will reveal.


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice one Will! And your provocative questions are sure to provoke discussion here – and that's such an important part of collaborative solution seeking.

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Cheers Meena - this should be fun. In the spirit of collaborative solution seeking, I asked a few Peruvian friends how the mandatory voting works in Peru for people with disabilities. I was as interested in their perceptions and whether or not they knew about the procedures as I was in the ultimate answer. Although they did not seem to be able to describe it clearly, it sounds like each person who might need assistance is able to be accompanied by someone else that can vote on their behalf. I like it for its simplicity but have a feeling we can do more to create as fully and truly a democratic process as possible.

Photo of Eoghan O Shea

That fits in with the moral philospher Martha Nussbaum's theories about voting, that all people, even people who might be regarded to be incapable of voting for themselves because of severe cognitive impairments, should have the capability to vote, even if that means to be represented by a family member or carer who is likely - or more likely than most through that relationship - to have the interests of that person at heart.

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