PINELLAS PARK, Fla., April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Access Ready Inc. announced that in conjunction with its Partner organizations it has taken the first steps toward opening discussions with the state of Maryland concerning the accessibility of pollbooks slated for procurement by the state.
Electronic pollbooks are computer systems that allow voters to check themselves in at the polls, a process that requires voters to enter private information. As is true also of voting machines, a pollbook that cannot be operated by voters with disabilities without assistance denies those voters the right to privacy that is guaranteed to all voters.
The concerns are expressed in conjunction with their Partnering organizations: The Image Center for People with Disabilities of Maryland, The National Association of the Deaf, The National Council on Independent Living, and The National Federation of the Blind.
“History shows us that an expansion of voter access nearly always requires that it be forced – from the very government mandated to protect and provide access,” said Douglas Towne, Chair and CEO of Access Ready.
Quoting the letter of concern sent to the Maryland State Board of Elections: “My clients and their members are extremely concerned that the State of Maryland is preparing to procure a system of electronic pollbooks for Maryland elections that are not accessible to people with disabilities. As you know, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Help America Vote Act, all require states to ensure that their election and other technologies provide equal access to people with disabilities, including those with vision, hearing, mobility, manual dexterity, and other disabilities” … “While my clients do not insist on any particular pollbook system, they do insist that any pollbook system used in Maryland be fully accessible to people with a full range of disabilities. ”
“People with disabilities will not be ignored, set aside or relegated to second class citizenship again,” said Stephen Handschu, election advocate and Chair of Advocacy for Access Ready’s Board of Directors. “Make no mistake, this is voter suppression. The disability community is tired of being left out of consideration when it comes to new technologies. Technological advances are not advances if they don’t work for everyone.”
Learn more about Access Ready and their mission at www.AccessReady.org.
Douglas George Towne, Chair and CEO
SOURCE Access Ready