The election startup Voatz is looking to make its platform more accessible through a new partnership with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). The NCAM will essentially be evaluating the utility of the app, which is available for Android and iOS and will theoretically make it easier for people with disabilities to participate in elections.
“The needs of citizens with disabilities have largely been ignored in the perceived conflict between security and convenience,” said Voatz Co-Founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney. “Citizens with disabilities deserve to take advantage of the advanced accessibility features available on modern smartphones. Democracy is at its best when all citizens can vote securely without limitation—physical or geographic.”
The blockchain-backed Voatz app would allow people with disabilities to cast an auditable ballot on a smartphone from the comfort of their own home. As it stands, most voters either need to go to a physical polling location or mail in a paper ballot, both of which can present significant obstacles to people with disabilities.
“In our tests, we have found Voatz’s platform to be highly accessible,” said NCAM Senior Director Donna Danielewski. “It allows individuals with disabilities to participate in the democratic voting process in a clear and accessible way.”
In previous elections, Voatz has only been available to overseas voters and active duty military personnel. However, the company has been looking to expand the scope of its platform, with Utah County becoming the first US jurisdiction to extend the trial to people with disabilities. Voatz has already conducted successful mobile voting pilots in Denver and West Virginia, with new pilots currently underway in Oregon’s Jackson and Umatilla counties.
The NCAM is a part of the WGBH Educational Foundation. WGBH is a leading public broadcaster and one of the largest producers of TV content for PBS.