Guiding Principles for Our Voting Challenge
As we dive into our newest collaborative OpenIDEO challenge, let’s first consider some Guiding Principles to help shape our conversations and efforts together:
‘Accessibility’ in the Context of Our Challenge
Accessibility can mean different things in different scenarios. In this challenge we want to focus on improving election access for people who face a variety of physical, mental or psychological barriers to voting. For people with disabilities, this includes:
Sensory disabilities: vision, hearing, speech
Physical disabilities: mobility, dexterity
Cognitive disabilities: intellectual, developmental, remembering, concentrating
Yet our scope also includes people whose access to elections is restricted due to other reasons:
Language minorities (people who don’t speak the local language)
Remote or rural voters who must travel long distances to cast their ballot
Military servicemen/women currently serving away from their home country
People facing mental or physical challenges related to aging.
It’s worth noting that our conversation is not meant to center on race-, income- or gender-related experience categories. While these are valid points for discussion, they are not the focus of this challenge.
Key Considerations for Our Efforts
As with every challenge we work on together, the language we use matters. When discussing disabilities or other limitations which might affect a person’s election access, consider how your words might be interpreted by our diverse and global community, some of whom may have personal experience with disabilities. For tips on how to discuss disabilities with understanding and sincerity, check this helpful guide.
This challenge is our chance to explore solutions that enable independent voting for anyone who wants to vote is willing, regardless of party affiliation or political beliefs. Rather than concentrating on politics, let’s keep things broad, nonpartisan and focused on democracies around the world.
Innovating Under Constraints
Elections are complicated systems that involve a variety of stakeholders with differing goals, motivations and requirements. In this challenge our ability to change some of these elements – including election laws, process, or systems – is very limited. What we can focus on, though, is finding ways to support and innovate around existing electoral systems.
Some Notes about Our Site
As we tackle the question of accessibility in elections, the OpenIDEO Team wanted to share some exciting updates that we’ve made to our site to make it more accessible for everyone, particularly for people using assistive technology like screen readers. Check out the updates we’ve made – and be sure to let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions at email@example.com!