Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Machines and People with Disabilities

See this interesting op-ed on the topic, which begins:

The Diebold voting machines being proposed for Volusia County don't meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act. The shocking part is, they don't have to. It's only 2005 and the law doesn't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2006, so vendors are able to sell, this year, whatever type of voting systems they can get away with selling.

As I write this, states and counties across our nation -- including Volusia County -- are being sold a bill of goods with respect to their purchases of new voting-machine systems to meet the requirements of HAVA, which include accessible voting machines for all voters. Voting-machine vendors are having a heyday because they have recognized a loophole in HAVA that is large enough to drive a truck (or push a voting machine) through.

Unwitting states and counties, believing that the systems being presented to them are HAVA-compliant, are being duped. Unless vendors offer a specific guarantee of HAVA compliance, hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayers' money may be squandered on equipment that will have to be scrapped or retrofitted at taxpayers' expense after Jan. 1, 2006.

While the proposed Diebold touch screens may provide accessibility for the blind, they are impossible to use for people with many other types of disabilities, including quadriplegics or those with severe manual impairments.


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