The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information









Accessible Voting Machines

Most voting systems are inaccessible for people with disabilities, says the National Organization on Disability's voting access project. People with disabilities cannot cast a secret ballot with most of these systems.

According to NOD,

  • 34% of the voting systems in America are punch card systems
  • 18.6% are lever systems
  • 27.3 use optical scanners9.1% use DRE (computer) systems
  • 1.6% use a paper ballot, and
  • 9.1% are a mixture
Punch card ballots are particularly difficult for people who have vision impairments, arm or hand mobility impairments. In most elections approximately 2% of all ballots are discarded due to voter error.

The Trace Center, a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, has worked with manufacturers of voting machines to develop accessible voting systems. Read more on the Trace Center's voting technology






Kay Schriner and Douglas Kruse have conducted a number of studies about voting access and persons with disabilities.

Kay Schriner, Ph.D., Department of Political Science
University of Arkansas
501-575-6417 (direct)
501-575-3356 (reception)

Douglas Kruse, School of Management and Labor Relations
Rutgers University

The Trace R&D Center was formed in 1971 to address the communication needs of people who are nonspeaking and have severe disabilities. Its director is Gregg Vanderheiden.
Gregg Vanderheiden
Trace Research and Development Center
(608) 263-2309



The following sites contain information that may be of interest. Please bear in mind that the information at these sites is not controlled by the Center for An Accessible society. Links to these sites do not imply that the Center supports either the organizations or the views presented.
The Project on Disability Politics at the University of Arkansas looks at political participation of people with disabilities, voting rights laws affecting people with disabilities and disability in American campaigns and elections.

"Voters with disabilities face discrimination nationwide," A report in the November/December 2000 issue of Ragged Edge magazine

The Trace Research & Development Center's efforts to make electronic voting machines easier to use for the average citizen, our aging population and people with disabilities can be found at

The National Organization on Disability's "Getting Out The Disability Vote" campaign has background and commentary






Expert sources

Election reform legislation and access

Voting in America -- commentary

Accessible voting machines

Polling sites remain inaccessible


About The Center for An Accessible Society