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Administering Accessible Vote by Mail Systems



Lynn Baumeister, Whitney Quesenbery, Sharon J. Laskowski


Accessible vote by mail (AVBM) provides options for voters with disabilities to complete their absentee or vote by mail ballots independently and privately. AVBM is especially important for voters with print disabilities that make it difficult to read or handle paper. This report reviews current elections offices' practices in administering accessible vote by mail and considers their innovations and current challenges. One of the most important challenges is difficulties exchanging voter data and ballot style information between the election management systems and the AVBM system. A strong Common Data Format for ballot style data interchange would make providing AVBM more efficient. With the use of AVBM and electronic ballot return growing, strong standards will also support stronger cybersecurity practices while providing voters with print disabilities equal access to voting by mail. Recommendations include gathering more detailed information about administrative practices, assessing the risks and benefits for different methods of electronic return, and investigating methods for directly counting an AVBM ballot without replication, including best practices for how voter selections are encoded.
OTHER - VTS 100-1
Report Number
VTS 100-1


accessible voting, accessible vote by mail, AVBM, Common Data Format, election administration, print disabilities, vote by mail, VBM, voting systems.


Baumeister, L. , Quesenbery, W. and Laskowski, S. (2023), Administering Accessible Vote by Mail Systems, OTHER, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 20, 2024)


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Created January 25, 2023