NEW APP MAKES IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TO VOTE
A new app called the Brink Election Guide will, for the first time, make it easier for voters with disabilities to get the information they need to exercise their rights to vote, helping to increase turnout among the 61 million adults with disabilities in America. As COVID-19 pushes everyone online, there is a growing problem of digital accessibility that is negatively impacting voters with disabilities – making it particularly challenging for these users to get information they need on the election as many candidate and issue websites aren’t fully accessible.
These problems come on top of an already challenging task many voters with disabilities face when they encounter poll workers who too frequently are unable or unwilling to grant access to accessible voting machines, or, worse, intimidate or question the right of people with disabilities to cast their votes at all. “Voter turnout among people with disabilities has gotten better over the years but continues to lag,” said one of Brink’s founders, Stephen Puiszis. “We now have a powerful opportunity to address some of the things that make voting inaccessible and to empower people with disabilities to be their own advocates.”
The Brink Election Guide is the first app to offer accessible technology that makes democracy available to everyone. In the app, users are offered nonpartisan ballot and candidate information alongside the logistics of voting that include deadlines on when, where and how voting occurs in a particular region by mail and in person. To help those voters who are being denied access to the right voting machines, the app empowers voters to defend their rights with pre-drafted responses from voting rights lawyers that address a wide range of potential issues.
By election time, the app will also offer a one-touch dialing access to a local advocacy organization and Board of Elections to immediately deal with polling station issues in real time – whether that be the Secretary of State’s office, the ACLU or their state’s chapter of the National Disability Rights Network. “We really started this because we want to make sure we grow into a voting bloc and that our vote is considered in the same light that politicians look at white suburban women, or black women or older Americans who have always voted in high numbers,” Helena Berger, the former president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
“Accessibility is a foundational principle of the disability rights movement. We must work to ensure that every American has access to the same information and opportunity, which is why I am so excited about the launch of Brink Election Guide,” explained former Congressman and lead congressional author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, Tony Coelho.
“Brink will absolutely help people with disabilities, but I also see all Americans benefiting from their work,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. Brink partners include national voting rights organizations and disability leaders including Rock the Vote, ACLU and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Funders include the University of Chicago and the Moore Foundation.
Sen. Cory Booker Video Endorsement: https://youtu.be/3hCU6nu87JI
Brink is a non-partisan, political technology non-profit making the democratic process more accessible to people with disabilities using technology, design, and behavioral science by delivering a 100% accessible end-to-end product that encompasses the entire voting process.