Inaccessible Dallas Texas
Douglas George Towne
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Access Ready Inc.
This year the home of the free will celebrates the twenty-ninth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). https://www.ada.gov/. Yet from sea to shining sea we find accessibility not to be commonplace, but rather an issue from the smallest to largest businesses, governments, and nonprofits among us. This article is broken into four parts because the seriousness of the subject requires the facts of the situation across Inaccessible Dallas County. (https://www.dallascountyvotes.org/ , https://www.dallascounty.org/, https://dallascityhall.com/ )
As the world has turned and spawned the new technologies that now drive the engines of our civic, social and economic lives the ADA’s promises of inclusion are being overlooked and perhaps in some cases intentionally left out.
The potential for widespread accessibility across information Technology (IT) is being thwarted by attitudes best left to the dust bins of history. Yes, there are issues with being able to shop online, apply for employment, and even be productive on the job for many people with disabilities frustrated by inaccessible websites, software programs, and new IT products and services of all kinds. But we must address the most egregious assault on modern-day liberty in our civic lives.
Title II of the ADA covers all state and local government activities, was enacted in 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, covering all recipients of federal funding, has been in place since 1973. These laws are unequivocal: they require covered entities to ensure their public communications are equally effective for people with disabilities as for people without disabilities. The Department of Justice has made clear that Title II requires all services, programs, and activities of public entities, including those provided through the Internet or other technology, to be accessible.
Great bastions of outwardly democratic and inclusive ideals like Dallas County in the State of Texas are openly flaunting the civil rights of people with disabilities and the laws that protect them.
Although major leadership organizations like the American Council of the Blind, National Federation of the Blind and others have taken public positions requiring accessibility across information technologies including emerging systems like poll books Inaccessible Dallas County has chosen not to require goods and services to be accessible. It is not just the city, county and election websites that are inaccessible, but they have taken even greater steps to grow inaccessibility and discrimination.
In a request for proposals (RFP) (2018-049-6742.RFP.Election.electronic poll book.MI) issued by the Dallas County Elections Department, Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole apparently refused to require that new poll book systems be accessible to people with disabilities.
Incredibly we have been given to understand that when this oversight was pointed out Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole seemingly refused to even look at accessible products or revise the RFP.
Access Ready and others are continuing to review this situation, more to follow.
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.