Louisiana Voters To Have Accessible Ballot Machines
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 31, 2005
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA--Voters with disabilities across Louisiana will soon be able to cast a private ballot, state election officials said Monday.
The state is negotiating with Oakland, California-based Sequoia Voting Systems to supply a total of 4,000 new touch-screen voting machines to be distributed to all of Louisiana's 64 parishes.
The new machines have several features that make them usable by people with disabilities. For example, the screen can be adjusted for voters' different heights and for wheelchairs. Voters who do not read because of vision or other disabilities can use an audio ballot, which allows them to hear instructions through headphones.
The manufacturers claim on their website that the systems are tamper proof and can provide a paper trail -- a requirement that has slowed down the progress toward accessible voting systems in some states and localities.
Accessible voting systems, such as electronic touch-screens, are required under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The law came with federal money to help local jurisdictions upgrade to the new systems.
The new requirements were also in response to problems experienced with punch-card ballots across the country, and especially in neighboring Florida, during the 2000 general election.