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EAC Funded Research - Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) Funded Projects

Election Administration Research Center (EARC) 

University of California Berkeley Law's EARC project team is creating profiles of voting in long-term care facilities in various counties. The project team is also recommending best practices for election office outreach in residential facilities in California and other states.  The goal of this project is to reduce inconsistencies and ineffectiveness in the current procedures of voter registration for those in long-term care facilities.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/round-2-funded-projects/election-administration-research-center/ 


Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) 

The project team is creating an enhanced interactive mobile application that presents sample content from the official California Voter Information Guide. The application is being designed with information visualizations and fast feedback loop methods to address cognitive limitations including attention and memory, and possible visual and/or hearing loss, in order to make the voter education process more accessible and effective.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/round-2-funded-projects/center-for-information-technology-research-in-the-interest-of-society/ 


Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) 

The CATEA team is creating a free, nationally-distributed online course to train poll workers how to interact with voters with disabilities. The course includes videos and scenarios to illustrate real world solutions to everyday voting problems of both voters and poll workers. This project continues work begun in the first year of the ITIF Accessible Voting Technology Initiative with ethnographic observation and interviews with voters with disabilities that revealed many barriers that can be addressed through better-trained poll workers.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-2-funded-projects/catea/ 


Michigan State University 

The project team is creating a smart single axis joystick to interact with a voting system. This "Smart Voting Joystick" is being designed to include adjustable tension and to provide the user with auditory, haptic, and visual feedback. It is also being designed to be programmable so that its operation may be changed through firmware upgrades in the future. The team is also designing a universal mounting device to enable poll workers to quickly position the joystick or switch on a wheelchair armrest, lap tray, or other wheelchair part.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-2-funded-projects/michigan-state-university/ 


Apps4Android 

Two applications are being developed for both the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.  The first mobile app is a voter information guide that will enable voters, including voters with print disabilities, to independently read about their rights, the candidates, the issues, and how and where to vote. The second mobile app will provide online training to enable people with print disabilities to learn everything necessary to serve as poll workers.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/apps4android/ 


Assistive Technology Partners 

This project is evaluating the usability and accessibility of tablet technology used in an innovative manner to facilitate voting for 30 adults with cognitive disabilities and seniors with disabilities living in group residential facilities in the City and County of Denver.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/assistive-technology-partners/ 


Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) 

The CATEA team is developing a working prototype of an accessible ballot interface. The goal of this prototype is to re-conceptualize the ballot design using a linear structure to provide the same simple and intuitive voting experience for all voters, regardless of ability or the input and output (I/O) device used. The prototype includes visual, physical, auditory, and gestural inputs as well as visual and audio outputs. This project continues work begun in the first year of the ITIF Accessible Voting Technology Initiative (AVTI), including a graduate course on universal design in voting systems, participation in the AVTI workshops, and the Open Innovation Challenge.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/center-for-assistive-technology-and-environmental-access/ 


Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) 

The purpose of the proposed project is to evaluate new innovations that make voting technology more accessible, reduce user error, and decrease the time required to vote.  Through this project, an accessible hardware interface was designed with tactile buttons to interact with an iPad-based voting system. This project builds on GTRI's past research on the technical issues associated with the universal design of voting systems. In addition, the proposed hardware interface for an iPad voting system was a finalist in the Open Innovation Challenge.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/gtr/ 


University of Baltimore 

The University of Baltimore is designing a ballot interface that can be used on any mobile device. This allows voters to use their own assistive technologies and mark their ballot from any location. The ballot interface makes it easier for low literacy voters and those with cognitive disabilities to read and mark a ballot. Voter is able to interact with the ballot through a variety of alternative input devices, including refreshable Braille displays, keyboard filters, on-screen keyboards, reading tools or screen-readers, and screen magnifiers. All code produced by this project is being made available under an open-source license so it can be incorporated into new or existing voting systems.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/university-of-baltimore/ 


University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) 

Research shows that written materials can be made more accessible for people with aphasia by simplifying text and providing material in different formats (e.g., images, video, or recorded audio). However, most voting materials are not delivered in a format that is accessible to people with aphasia. UMBC is developing a web-based voter's guide that is optimized for people with aphasia.  The goal of this guide is to improve the ability of people with aphasia to make informed choices and vote independently at their polling pace.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/grants/round-1-funded-projects/university-of-maryland-baltimore-county/ 


OpenIDEO Innovation Challenge

Challenge duration: January 24 – March 28, 2012

For many citizens in democracies around the world, the ability to cast an election ballot is often a given. However, many people face a variety of social and technological barriers that impede their ability to cast their ballot privately and independently. In this challenge, OpenIDEO and ITIF called for ways to improve election accessibility for people with disabilities and other limitations, with the goal of designing new solutions to make the entire voting process – from registering to vote to casting a ballot –accessible for everyone.

For more information about this project, visit: http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/brief.html


University of Utah

The project team defined the demographics of the population and investigating social barriers, building on surveys such as the 2008 Survey of the Performance of American Elections, conducted by the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project. The results from this research were used to inform future work of the ITIF project.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/current-challenges/


University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies (UWCTDS)

The UWCTDS team documented the state of accessible voting systems. This work was done through expert assessments in collaboration with the NIST voting systems lab and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The results from this research were used to inform future work of the ITIF project.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/current-challenges/


University of Colorado Denver Assistive Technology Partners (ATP)

ATP identified gaps in accessibility for specific disabilities and matched them to existing and emerging assistive technology tools which could be employed to bridge these gaps.  The results from this research were used to inform future work of the ITIF project.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/current-challenges/


Georgia Tech Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA)

CATEA conducted an ethnographic study of the elections context from the perspective of voters with disabilities, looking for barriers and enablers to participation. The results from this research were used to inform future work of the ITIF project.

For more information about this project, visit: http://elections.itif.org/projects/current-challenges/