[E-voting] RTE Radio tonight

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Thu Mar 4 12:47:05 GMT 2004

I heard the last portion of the program last night.  The members of NCBI 
clearly expressed their annoyance that Powervote reps told them they'd been 
working on their system for the last 15 years--yet they didn't look into 
the accessibility issue.  More disappointment that NCBI was only asked for 
input in the last year and a half, when the gov't had been working on it 
for 5 yrs.  Elsewhere (perhaps on this list?  Or on another Audioscope 
program) when accessibility was discussed, it was made clear that it is 
simple and inexpensive when accessibility features are integrated from the 
beginning of a system's design.  But it is much more cumbersome when they 
must be added on at the end, as an afterthought.  There are apparently lots 
of user-friendly kinds of evoting available elesewhere, e.g., where if you 
put on a headset when you touch a button a voice will tell you what the 
candidate's name is for that button.

Apparently all the gov't has done in response to feedback from NCBI & 
others is to use larger fonts.  (I'm not sure where these fonts 
are--wouldn't that be just on the printed form with the candidates' 
names?  Or maybe he meant the "cast vote" button?  The gov't rep didn't 

There was a gov't rep on the program who is the contact person for any 
advice/requests relating to accessibility of the gov't e-voting 
system.  His name is Michael Murphy.  His email address is 
michael_murphy at environ.ie


At 19:26 03/03/2004 +0000, Ryan Meade wrote:
>At the e-voting launch in Dublin I spoke to somebody from the National
>Council for the Blind.  She says that the government approached them AFTER
>they had procured the Nedap system to ask if it was accessible to people
>with visual impairments, and if not how it might be made accessible.  Of
>course these are questions which should have been put to Nedap during the
>procurement process.
>As you know, the answer from the NCBI was "no".  They are currently working
>with the Department to make the machines accessible, but they accept that
>this will not happen before the June elections.  I asked why they weren't
>making a big fuss about it, and she said that they didn't want to annoy the
>Department unnecessarily while progress was being made.  She said that if it
>looked like the project was being stalled they would be happy to make a lot
>of noise at that stage.
>I'm not going to argue with the NCBI's approach, but this does show up a
>certain characteristic casualness in the process of procuring the Nedap
>However, perhaps this is one of those side issues which will only distract
>from our overall argument.  The counter-argument, just so you know, is that
>the system whereby a visually-impaired person casts his or her vote with the
>e-voting system is not any less awkward than in the current paper-based
>On 03/03/2004 18:35, "Neil Walsh" <marvin at redbrick.dcu.ie> wrote:
> > Just heard on the radio that a programme called Audiosource (I think?) 
> which
> > airs at 8pm will be discussing the electronic voting systems with regard to
> > the visually impaired. It seems that the machines haven't been specially
> > adapted to the needs of the visually impaired. Has anyone heard 
> anything else
> > about this? Sorry if it's old news....
> >
> > Neil
> >
> >
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