The closest I’ve come to 15 minutes of fame was getting a note published in the City Room section of the New York Times on Election Day, 2008. I wrote: ”Everybody was excited despite the hour, taking pictures, cheering, and generally being very patient and upbeat. Lots of folks brought little kids — hope they remember it as an amazing historic day!”
And it’s true, I love the excitement, energy, and community that I feel going to the polls to vote.
A recent study we worked on drove home the point that not everyone gets to have this experience. Southpaw surveyed 1,004 registered voters who described themselves as having some kind of disability (vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive). Disabled voters make up a huge voting bloc in the US; according to researchers from Rutgers University, over 14 million people with disabilities voted in 2018, but we found that this experience is not always the best: 54% of disabled voters in our survey reported that they’d had difficulties at the polls– including 1 in 5 who had an issue with voting machines. Most alarming to me: these challenges keep lots of disabled voters away from the polls on Election Day.
We collaborated with a voting machine technology company, Smartmatic, to highlight this issue in the lead up to the next election. Please take a minute to read the whole study here (or some of the media coverage in The Fulcrum, Yahoo! Finance, and Politico) and learn more about how Smartmatic is working to improve voting machine accessibility and usability for all voters at www.smartmatic.com.