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Innovation in Voting Accessibility

by: Sherry Dawson, Deputy Chief, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

March 7, 2014

Voting is a right we Americans value, and most of the time it’s fairly easy for most of us to participate in the electoral process. However, have you ever considered the challenges that come with using a voting machine if you have trouble reading, are blind or visually impaired, or if you have a physical disability that limits your mobility? The good news is that new accessibility solutions are being introduced to allow more people with disabilities to privately and independently vote, including a universally-designed voting machine developed by Clemson University’s Dr. Juan Gilbert. For this work, Dr. Gilbert received in 2011 an FCC Chairman's Award for Advancement in Accessibility in the category of civic participation.

Photo of Presenter Dr Juan Gilbert
Dr Juan Gilbert, Presidential Endowed Professor and Chair of the Human-Centered Computing (HCC) Division in the School of Computing at Clemson University.

On Tuesday March 11, as part of the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation (A&I) Initiative Speaker Series, Dr. Gilbert will speak about his research team’s work to ensure voting technology is accessible to all people, regardless of ability or disability.  The presentation will be held from 9:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. in the Commission Meeting Room and will be followed by demonstrations in the FCC's Technology Experience Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on two voting systems developed in his lab that enhance the voting process.

The A&I Initiative was created to spur stronger innovation in the accessibility of information and communication technologies, by informing and inspiring relevant stakeholders. The A&I Speaker Series highlights and encourages presentations on innovation in accessible ICT that will benefit people with disabilities. Each event is intended to address the subject of how solutions to accessibility problems may be realized more quickly and broadly in society.

Dr. Gilbert is the Chair of Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University, and has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential African-Americans in technology. In 2011, President Obama honored Dr. Gilbert as a national science mentor.

For more information please read the Press Release.

We hope you can join us for this and future A&I Speaker Series events.

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