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It’s easy to take the act of voting for granted. Getting out and voting on Election Day seems rather simple, right? Most of us can drive, walk, or bike to a polling location. We tell the poll worker our names. Then we walk into private voting booths to cast our handwritten ballots. We deliver those ballots to the counting machine, and we’re on our way with “I Voted” stickers on our shirts.

Now, consider how different the process is for anyone with significant vision loss. There has unfortunately been a lack of equal access to information about candidates. There’s also limited transportation to polling places. What’s more, individuals with sight loss haven’t had a way to vote independently and privately at the polls… Until now! There’s some good news for the 22,000 New Hampshire residents with severe sight loss, 93% of whom are of voting age.

Since 2002, the Help America Vote Act has demonstrated the federal government’s commitment to providing accessible and private voting options for all. Following the One4All accessible voting system debut at the 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary, those with varying degrees of vision loss now have a unique opportunity to vote electronically. The One4All system is a tablet-based system with voice output that’s designed for voters who have any number of visual impairments, from those with low vision to those who are completely blind.

“I believe New Hampshire is one of the first, if not the first, states to fully adopt tablet-based voting technology,” said our President & CEO, David Morgan. “Though we know the system is imperfect and will require improvements to ensure full privacy, One4All is a step in the right direction toward fully independent and private voting for those with sight loss.” We’re happy to say that One4All will be available for the New Hampshire State Primary Election in September and the General Election in November!

We hope you’ll join us in trying the new system when you vote this fall. Also reach out to family members and friends, whether or not they have vision loss, and encourage them to use the One4All accessible voting system. Won’t you share your experiences with us by email at services@sightcenter.org or with a post to our Facebook page?

One4All is thankfully here to stay — let’s spread the word and make it the best it can be!

 

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