Voting Systems Fail to Meet ADA, HAVA Access Requirements

Improving Voter Access
A Report on the Technology for Accessible Voting Systems

February 14, 2007
By Noel Runyan

View the document (pdf)

Improving Voter Access is a new report by technology expert Noel Runyan, published by Demos and Voter Action, that finds that state voting systems are widely noncompliant with federal ADA and HAVA access requirements for voters with disabilities.

Twenty percent of U.S. adults with disabilities -- more than 8 million eligible voters -- say they have been unable to vote in presidential or congressional elections due to barriers at or getting to the polls The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that all polling places in elections for federal office anywhere in the United States have at least one voting system that shall be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and
visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters.

But most currently deployed voting systems, including direct-recording electronic (DRE) systems, do not meet current HAVA and ADA disability accommodation requirements, and they are far from compliance with the new Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.They are not accessible for significant numbers of individuals with disabilities for a variety of reasons that can and should be directly addressed.