A Usability and Real World Perspective on Accessible Voting
Piner, Gillian E.
Byrne, Michael D.
Master of Arts
The HAVA (Help America Vote Act) mandated that all polling places provide privacy and independence to voters. DREs (Direct-Recording Electronic voting systems) have been assumed to be the solution to providing accessible voting, but there is reason to believe extant systems do not adequately serve this goal (Runyan, 2007). Study 1, a mock election, is a first step in addressing the lack of existing data on the usability of accessible voting methods. In comparison with sighted users, blind users took five times longer to vote. Both populations showed similar error rates and types, and reported similarly high satisfaction with the usability of paper ballots. Study 2, a survey, provides the opinions and recommendations of 202 legally blind voters. Data-based recommendations for auditory modes of voting systems include adjustable speed and volume, using male text-to-speech synthesized voices, and allowing for flexible navigation. This research provides a comparison point and guidelines for future studies of accessibility solutions.
Psychology; Cognitive psychology