Kavanagh Examines Accessible Voting Devices

September 11, 2009

As voters get ready to vote in primaries that will be held next week in many parts of New York State, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who chairs the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement, visited the New York City Board of Elections for a demonstration of the ballot marking devices (BMDs) the Board is currently deploying to improve access to the polls for voters with disabilities.

The deployment of BMDs is part of a larger effort to bring New York into compliance with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The devices feature a wide variety of accessibility options intended to maximize the number of voters who will be able to vote in privacy and with confidence. Voters with disabilities can review the ballot on a video screen or by audio via headphones, and can cast their votes using buttons to scroll through the choices, a single toggle switch, or a breath control device, ultimately producing a paper ballot just as if it had been read and marked by hand.

Over the next year, HAVA implementation is expected to be completed statewide, as election administrators replace old lever machines currently in use at most poll sites with optical scanning machines to electronically tabulate election results (paper ballots will be retained to verify the results when necessary).

For more information on voting in New York City, call 866-VOTE-NYC or TTY 212-487-5496. Elsewhere in the State, contact your local board of elections or the State Board at 800-367-8683.

If you have ideas or concerns about election day operations or voting rights issues, please contact Ames Grawert in Kavanagh’s district office at 212-979-9696.