The Challenge834 followers
Voting Vans --- REFINEMENTVans equipped with electronic voting machines could make scheduled stops at hospitals and rehab centers allowing people with disabilities to conveniently participate in the voting process.
Many people, especially those with some kind of disability, find it challenging to vote. Voting vans could help make the process more accessible and let the people actually experience voting. The vans, equipped with electronic voting systems, could make scheduled stops at hospitals, care centers, and special need schools, thereby giving people with special needs the opportunity to cast their ballots. The “Let the app suggest” concept could work well in this case. The vans would be staffed with a few poll workers and perhaps a security guard. The poll workers could work alongside the hospital/school staff to ensure the ballots are cast accurately and privately.
Building the Van
One option is to build vans specifically for this concept. The vans would have fewer seats and more room to maneuver wheelchairs/scooters. The vans could actually have booth structures and temporarily fitted voting machines. The vans would feel more airy and comfortable. In addition to in-van voting, the poll workers could also carry a few EZ Ballots or laptops to help those who cannot make it to the van.
- Booth structures to ensure privacy
- Electronic voting machines (computers) with accessible keyboards
- Headphones and mic
- Wireless connection and location tracking device
- EZ Ballots or laptops
The one caveat here is the price. This could be a costly project, especially at a prototyping stage.
A way to offset the cost and increase van use would be to lease these vans to other city initiatives such as a mobile library, mobile test center, etc… during election off seasons.
Another option is to leverage public transport such as buses and shuttles. Although this is a cheaper option, it has some limitations. Due to many seats, maneuvering wheelchairs and scooters may become difficult. This means only one or two people may be able to vote at a given time. Also, it may be challenging to add temporary booth structures and voting computers. The poll workers would primarily have to depend on portable polling options such as laptops and privacy screens. However, if alternate rows of seats could be temporarily dismantled, these buses could be more effective.
- Portable voting systems (tablets/laptop computers) with privacy screens.
- Headphones and mic
- Wireless connection and location tracking device
Tasha is a woman in her 30’s who runs her own business. She has been blind since birth. She employs a “reader” who reads print materials to her. However, she uses a computer independently and prefers that method for accessing information. Tasha has heard about the voting van on the radio and that the van’s website is designed for accessibility and provides location tracking/schedules based on one’s zip code.
- She checks the website to find a van near her
- She learns that a voting van is scheduled to make a stop at the school for the visually impaired, which is about a mile away from her place.
- But Tasha is a bit nervous, so she asks her “reader” to go along
- Both catch a ride to the school and Tasha
- There are 8 people ahead of Tasha and she patiently awaits her turn.
- As she waits, a poll worker walks her through the process of casting a ballot in the van
- Poll worker assists Tasha to the van
- Tasha casts her ballot firsthand with some assistance.
- Poll worker offers the “reader” an opportunity to cast her ballot as well
Charlie has autism. He is high-functioning and is able to read well. He spends his day at a special school. The van is here to help Charlie and others at the school cast their ballots.
- Poll workers help Charlie and one more person to the bright and airy van
- A teacher, who Charlie knows well, goes along to make Charlie comfortable in this unfamiliar situation
- Teacher assists poll worker in walking Charlie through the voting app
- After Charlie casts his ballot, the teacher diverts his attention and helps him back to the school
George is a retiree who has MS that affects his memory and his mobility. He lives in a retirement nursing home attached to a hospital. A voting van is scheduled to spend the day at the hospital. The nursing home assists the retirees to the van.
- Caregiver wheels George to the van
- Poll worker helps George understand how the system works
- George sits at the private polling booth and puts on headphones
- Poll worker pulls the privacy screen
- He can hear step by step directions as he makes progress
However, George’s friend Jim, has sustained an injury and cannot make it to the van. In this case, the poll worker can take the portable laptop/tablet and a pop-up privacy screen to Jim and help him cast his ballot.
How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?
This concept is fairly scalable and is not restricted to hospitals. It offers convenient way for anyone who wants to vote. It eliminates the use of paper ballots by installing electronic machines thereby improving security. For example, the van could make stops at schools allowing teachers and staff to vote on campus.
The van location could be tracked using a simple website so people could vote at a van near them.
Although the van enhances convenience, it is much about employing empathetic people who make the experience positive and memorable.
How well does this concept adapt to the changing needs of different voter communities?
What kinds of resources – whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise – will be needed to get this concept off the ground?
Every van would need a skilled worker who could assist with technical difficulties and security personnel to ensure safety. The city could also team up with local nonprofits to get volunteers to work the van as poll workers, or hire people to work as poll workers.
My Virtual Team
23 Evaluations Evaluation results
Login to evaluate this concept and to see the results.
How well does this concept address the needs of voters who might be excluded from elections today because of a disability, difficulty with languages or reading, limited mobility or other conditions?
|Really well: this concept clearly addresses the needs of voters with different abilities or limitations.|
|Pretty well: this concept addresses some of the needs of voters with different abilities or limitations.|
|Not well: this concept doesn't at all address the needs of voters with different abilities or limitations.|
Thinking about the resources needed to implement this concept, how feasible is this concept for your community? (Hint: resources might be money, time, partnerships, or other inputs needed for implementation)
|This concept is definitely feasible for my community to implement; the resources needed wouldn't be an issue.|
|This concept might be feasible for my community to implement, as long as we could find assistance with some of our resource constraints.|
|This concept is not feasible for my community to implement; it's just too resource-intensive.|
How much of an impact would this concept make on you or your community?
|This concept would clearly have a positive impact on me or my community.|
|This concept might have a positive impact on me or my community, but it's not clear exactly how.|
|This concept would not have a positive impact on me or my community.|
Overall, how do you feel about this concept?
|It rocked my world.|
|I liked it but preferred others.|
|It didn't get me overly excited.|