Accessible Voting Options Coming to Delaware Primary Elections
Amid in-person voting concerns, Delaware expands voting options and announces secure online solution for voters with disabilities and members of the military
Tusk Philanthropies (TP) announced today that Delaware will offer a secure, fully accessible balloting portal for its June primary election. All registered voters who have a qualifying physical disability or are active-duty military overseas and their eligible dependents will be able to use their computer, smartphone, or tablet to vote in the upcoming election.
For many citizens with physical disabilities, both voting in-person and paper absentee ballots create a number of barriers and make it difficult at times to vote. Members of the military deployed overseas face similar barriers to casting their vote, including unreliable mail service. Democracy Live’s OmniBallot provides a secure option for eligible voters to receive, mark and return their ballots electronically or by mail. While a voter can access their ballot conveniently from their mobile device using OmniBallot, the system produces the same scannable and auditable paper ballots that is indistinguishable from other absentee ballots submitted.
“A critical guarantee of our democracy is the right to vote privately and independently. The American Council of the Blind commends Governor Carney and the State of Delaware for ensuring people with disabilities may fully participate in the democratic process,” said Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind. “Nationwide, the only option for many blind and visually impaired voters to vote privately and independently was to vote in-person; placing themselves at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. The American Council of the Blind commends Delaware’s lawmakers for their foresight several years ago to include provisions in State law allowing electronic delivery of absentee ballots, ensuring people with disabilities.”
“The State of Delaware is excited to offer the OmniBallot accessible voting option for both our voters with disabilities and our military and overseas voters,” said Anthony Albence, Delaware State Election Commissioner. “We have had very positive feedback on the system to date. Delaware is pleased to partner with Democracy Live system to provide voters a fully accessible means to obtain, mark and return their ballots for the upcoming election.”
“During this health crisis it’s important we consider and provide all voters with a solution that is accessible, secure and safe,” said Bradley Tusk, CEO and Founder of Tusk Philanthropies. “So many Americans already faced barriers to voting in elections and this pandemic is a wake up call to every state official and government that they need to to begin implementing new, more innovative forms of voting.”
The pilot is a collaboration between Delaware, Democracy Live, Tusk Philanthropies, and the National Cybersecurity Center. Eligible voters will be able to participate in the upcoming election by opting in to vote electronically on their smartphones or laptops. Participating voters will log into the secure Democracy Live portal on their smart devices using their name and date of birth to access and mark their ballot.
Once the voter has made all their selections, they will have the opportunity to review their ballot to ensure it was marked correctly. Upon confirming their selections, voters will submit their signature to verify their submission before electronically returning their ballot. Voters will also have the option to print and return their marked ballots via local drop boxes throughout the county, or to mail in their ballot. Ballots will be verified and tabulated by Delaware.
Voting began on March 13 and continues through 8:00 p.m. ET on Election Day, June 2.
“During this health crisis, more and more voters will be voting safely and securely from home,” said Bryan Finney, CEO of Democracy Live. “However if you happen to be one of the 35 million voters in the U.S. with a disability you are the only group that must vote in-person on a public touch screen machine. We applaud Delaware for helping pioneer true voting independence for all voters, including those living abroad, serving in the military or living with a disability.