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Punchscan for Voters with Disabilities

An extended version of Punchscan provides several alternate ways of casting a vote, and of verifying that the vote has been cast as intended. This allows voters of diverse abilities to use Punchscan. Care is taken to ensure that a voter's disability is not identifiable from the posted receipts, providing a level of privacy hitherto unavailable to disabled voters.

The process of verifying that votes are counted as cast is a public activity, and would typically not be performed by all voters. The process uses software to check the cryptographic soundness of the counting and auditing processes, and is typically performed by public service organizations, interested voters, and representatives personally chosen by individual voters. Modern technologies that enable the use of computers for the disabled would enable this part of the Punchscan voting process for interested disabled voters.

Thus Punchscan provides the same functionality to a large fraction of voters (including those with several disabilities) -- the casting of a vote, the verification that it has been cast as intended, and the verification, with a high degree of assurance, that it is counted as cast. It also provides the same degree of privacy to all voters once the vote is cast, regardless of ability.

Following is a list of some types of disabilities: a tick mark indicates that Punchscan can be used, a cross that it cannot. Links from individual cells provide greater detail on how Punchscan provides the functionality.

Note that the ability to distinguish among colors is not required for the use of Punchscan. Note also that, for those with low vision who would be able to see well with larger font sizes on a screen, Punchscan may easily be used with a good magnifying glass. Hence the term "Visual Disability" below denotes a visual disability that is not restricted to color blindness, and which cannot be addressed through the use of a magnifying glass.

No Visual Disability

Hearing disability No Hearing Disability
Inability to MarkPartial (an aide or friend
marks, but knows the
No Inability to Mark&radic&radic

Visual Disability

Hearing disability No Hearing Disability
Inability to MarkX&radic
No Inability to MarkPartial (can vote using
Braille and have a rep-
resentative verify vote
is cast as intended)