Why use iPads for disabled voters?
It was all over the news this week:
Oregon's Secretary of State is piloting the use of IPads to make it easier for disabled people to vote.
I don't get it.
In the pilot test, they spent $75K to develop the application for the IPad. They have to get the IPad to the disabled voter, who then apparently is able to use the touch screen to perform the act of voting. Then they use a mobile printer (which they also apparently bring to the voter) to print the ballot and then mail it in like a regular ballot.
Am I alone in wondering just what it is about this whole routine that makes voting more accessible to disabled people?
What kind of disabilities make it difficult for a person to fill out and send a vote-by-mail ballot, but able to use a touch screen, remove paper from a printer, put it in an envelope and pop it in the mail? Am I missing something?
So what is the system here, assuming that they declare this pilot test a success and then take it statewide like they say they will? Every disabled person has home delivery of an IPad and the special printer? Will they have to figure the software and the printer out by themselves, or will a helpful election official visit the home to assist?
How does that make sense? If we are going to send officials into homes to assist in IPad voting, wouldn't it just be simpler to have these folks just fill in the bubbles on the vote-by-mail ballot for them at their instruction?
One of the few really good things about vote-by-mail is that it DOES make it easier for disabled people to vote. All they really need is a trusted non-disabled person to assist them with whatever it is their disability prevents them from doing.
It is completely unclear how using an IPad makes it easier to vote for people whose disabilities run the gamut from blindness, paraplegia, quadraplegia, or illness.
Maybe someone can enlighten me, but from my perspective this looks like just another wasteful attempt for a politician to make headlines, assisted by a totally credulous press.
Posted by Rob Kremer