Inaccessible Dallas Texas Part 2
Douglas George Towne
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Access Ready Inc.
It is the duty of government to require accessibility so that developers will provide it in their goods and services. Even without this incentive one major company who understands the law has made an impressive investment in and advances across accessible election technologies to support Federal and State accessibility requirements. Yes, in the interest of full disclosure that the company VOTEC Corporation is one among many Founders of Access Ready Inc, but that does not change the facts in the case of inaccessible Dallas, Texas. The counties overt act of discrimination by not requiring accessibility and refusing to even look at a fully accessible product is what has brought Dallas County’s denial of disability rights to our attention. VOTEC recognizes the need and requirements that support accessibility, while inaccessible Dallas, Texas apparently does not. Access Ready does not endorse or recommend any companies product or services. We only seek that government requires accessibility across all information technology so that all companies will offer accessible innovations. This means that the argument that requiring accessibility was pointless because it does not exist in the new technologies that Dallas election officials are seeking is a straw man defense at best. Great pioneering strides have been made in the abilities to provide private and independent access to those citizens with sensory, mobility, and cognitive disabilities. We find that the technology necessary is openly available and waiting to be used to support the civil rights of people with Disabilities. Using the seven accessibility standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, as a baseline election technology developers have broken down previously thought to be insurmountable communication barriers. The barrier that is yet to be eliminated is the attitudes of those in power like Elections Administrator, Toni Pippins-Poole, who is apparently perpetuating these attitudes. By not requiring accessibility in their RFP she may have essentially fooled the members of the Election User Community Evaluation Group and ultimately Dallas voters into believing that accessibility in the emerging election technology market that includes poll books does not exist. If withholding information from the Election User Community Evaluation Group does not compound the perversion of the very civil rights of citizens with disabilities, then we do not know what does. This situation also raises questions about the impartiality of the procurement process. It begs the question why Elections Administrator, Toni Pippins-Poole, wouldn’t want to look at every potential technology available which makes the election process more independent, private and accessible. Access Ready is reviewing the websites of the City, County and Elections Department to see how far this discriminatory attitude goes.
About Access Ready
Access Ready Inc. is a nonprofit cross-disability education and advocacy organization promoting a policy of inclusion and accessibility across information technology through education and best practices. It shall be Policy One of Access Ready Inc. never to be a plaintiff in and/or financially support any legal action or lawsuit related to the accessibility or inaccessibility of any information technology software, hardware or service. Further Access Ready Inc. shall make the results of its technical findings, policy discussions and advocacy efforts available to the public through accessready.org, its social media stream and other public relations efforts. The Board of Directors of Access Ready has deemed inaccessible information technology to be a clear, growing, and present danger to the civic, economic, and social welfare of people with disabilities. We would welcome your support.