Accessible Voting Systems

Usable voting systems are key to a successful voting experience for everyone, but are especially important for persons with disabilities. Voting systems need to be designed so that these voters can effectively interact with a voting system in a reasonable amount of time and without discomfort.

The overall goal of the research was to develop a suitable, rigorous test protocol for a Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL) to conduct usability conformance testing of accessible voting systems with persons who are blind, have low vision, or have dexterity impairments in order to ensure that they can vote independently. We first conducted a gap analysis and formal study of existing conformance tests and methodologies for conducting usability tests for accessibility. We then developed and refined tests and protocols appropriate to the selected demographic groups, before conducting and analyzing dry runs of the test protocol using multiple voting systems to get expert timings. The materials that were developed are intended to be used in pilot testing.

Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Publications

  • Swierenga, S. J., & Pierce, G. L. (2012). Testing Usability Performance of Accessible Voting Systems: Final Report. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting.

  • Swierenga, S. J., Pierce, G. L., Quesenbery, W., Vanderheiden, G. C., Seleski, P. A. (2011). Testing Usability Performance of Voting Systems: Screening, Background, and Post-Study Question Bank. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting.

  • Swierenga, S. J., Pierce, G. L., Quesenbery, W., Seleski, P. A., Vanderheiden, G. C. (2010). Testing Usability Performance of Voting Systems: Reference Questionnaires. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting.