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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Accessible Voting

The ES&S AutoMARK is a new system designed to give people with disabilities more independence at their local poling place. The 40,000 polling places across 42 states that currently use or are considering the optical scan method of ballot-marking will be candidates for this state-of-the-art voting machine, which uses a touch screen, allows for an auditable paper trail and gives disabled Americans the option to vote privately and independently.

The addition of this technology to an existing optical scan system will bring those polling places into compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 requiring all polling locations to be equipped with at least one voting machine for people with disabilities by January 2006. The ES&S AutoMARK offers a virtually fool-proof way for all Americans to vote accurately with a high level of confidence that their vote is private and secure -- and, since the Chad fiasco of 2000 -- gives polling places reliable and legal documents in case of a recount.

The ES&S AutoMARK prevents overvoting, accidentally marking too many candidates; and minimizes undervoting, skipping a race unintentionally. At the end, the votes are summarized on the screen, also via headphones, and voters have a chance to change selections. Once complete, the voter brings the ballot to an optical scan machine for tabulation.

The machine offers several features for disabled voters, including an audio ballot; a tempo control voice technology; directions and a touch pad with Braille; repeat key voice technology; sip/puff tube for paraplegics and quadriplegics; and zoom and contrast button for the visually impaired. It also features a full range of foreign language options.

This technology was created by Chicago-based AutoMARK Technical Systems (ATS) and is being distributed by Election Systems and Software (ES&S). For more information, call Ed Claffy, 630/291-0655 or go to the Automarks web site by clicking this link. You can also visit the ES&S - Election Systems & Software page by clicking this link:

Headquartered in Tustin, AccuPoll (OTCBB:ACUP) is the developer of a federally qualified electronic voting system featuring an intuitive touch screen input and a voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) that can be confirmed by the voter at the time the ballot is cast, creating a permanent paper audit trail as mandated in the "Help America Vote Act of 2002" (HAVA). AccuPoll's voter verified paper audit trial allows voters with visual impairments to audibly review the permanent paper audit trail as their ballot is cast.

A core component of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) is that all voting locations have a means by which voters with disabilities may vote unassisted by the first federal election of 2006. States across the country are currently evaluating voting systems that meet federal guidelines in order to comply with these new standards. AccuPoll System Scores High Marks for Accessibility, allowing many to vote unassisted for the first time.

For additional information: Click here to visit the Accupoll home page:

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