Voting machines have to be accessible to people with different disabilities. Most of the times the manufacturers slap on a voice output system for blind voters and a dual switch scanning solution for physically disabled voters, then call it quits. Results are not always pretty.
Now “Prime III”, an Auburn University prototype, tries a speech recognition system that covers both blind and physically disabled voters. You listen to the choices over a headset. Each candidate is assigned a random number. To vote for that candidate, you say that number, not the name, for privacy reasons.
We’re guessing that this may not be optimal for some voters with hearing, cognitive, or speech disabilities. But at least it’s a new idea. And it also points up the multimodal reality: no single interface will work for all users.