University of Baltimore

Project Sponsor: University of Baltimore

Problem: Voters who have difficulty reading and voters with cognitive disabilities may face challenges using existing voting systems. This is because these systems generally lack the accessibility features found in many newer mobile devices and voters must use these systems in unfamiliar environments.

Proposed Solution: This project will design a ballot interface that can be used on any mobile device. This would allow voters to use their own assistive technologies and mark their ballot from any location. The ballot interface will be designed to make it easier for low literacy voters and those with cognitive disabilities to read and mark a ballot. Voter will be able to interact with the ballot through a variety of alternative input devices, including refreshable Braille displays, keyboard filters, on-screen keyboards, reading tools or screen-readers, and screen magnifiers.

The project will continue the innovative approach to election design pioneered in the Accessible Voting Technology Initiative Design Workshops and the Open Innovation Challenge. Several rounds of iterative prototyping and usability testing will give voters with disabilities input into the design. The project team will also work with election officials and technical voting system experts to ensure that the research solution will be practical, aiming for a template that can be implemented in existing voting systems.

All code produced by this project will be made available under an open-source license so it can be incorporated into new or existing voting systems.

Who does it help?This research will likely benefit all voters, but a particular emphasis will be to provide a solution targeted at addressing the needs of low-literacy voters and voters with cognitive impairment.