(CLEVELAND)—One in five people eligible to vote has a disability. However, Ohio’s limited online voter registration system is inadequate and inaccessible to Ohioans with disabilities, according to Mike Brickner, senior policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
“Democracy works best when all voters can participate,” Brickner said. “All too often, people with disabilities encounter barriers during the voting process, which can discourage them from voting. There is a growing consensus that online voter registration would not only make registering to vote easier, but it’s convenient, secure, and saves money. Voters with disabilities would benefit greatly from an online voter registration system, but it must be accessible to them.”
That’s why the ACLU is releasing the video “Online for All: Helping People with Disabilities Register to Vote” and the report “Access Denied: Barriers to Online Voter Registration Systems.”
The video, produced by the ACLU of Ohio, shows how online voter registration can especially help people with disabilities access the election system and exercise their right to vote. Two companion videos also examine how the voting process can become more accessible to voters: “Online for All: Bridging the Divide for Deaf and Deaf-Blind” and “Online for All: Allowing all Forms of Identification." Interviews with voters with disabilities and voting rights advocates highlight the issues and common-sense solutions to demolishing barriers to vote.
“Access Denied: Barriers to Online Voter Registration Systems” discusses what makes online voter registration systems accessible for people with disabilities then evaluated 20 states' current online registration systems. The results were disappointing overall and especially for Ohio’s limited online registration website.
“Currently, Ohio’s voter registration website failed seven out of nine accessibility categories,” Brickner said. “This just isn’t acceptable. One in 10 potential voters need an accessible site. We need a full online voter registration system that works for all Ohioans.”
Brickner added that an accessible voter registration system also would benefit: Seniors, people with limited English proficiency, and people with limited literacy.
To see the videos, view the report, and learn about the benefits of “Online for All,” please visit www.acluohio.org/onlineforall.