Electronic voting can provide increased accessibility for voting populations that experience greater barriers to voting. Populations that are currently served by electronic voting pilots are overseas voters (UOCAVA) and voters experiencing a disability.
The Federal Voters Assistance Program (FVAP) released a report on voting rates and barriers to overseas voters, identifying that only 6.9 percent of overseas voters participated in the 2016 General Election. The voting participation rate compared to 72 percent of eligible domestic voters. The significant discrepancy can be attributed to a variety of challenges including the connectedness to the election and home community, and the ease of access to the international mail system.
An additional challenge for overseas voters is the general insecurity of email and fax in returning a ballot. Security will only increase for those voters when technology advances to ensure that they are afforded the same level of secure access that domestic voters enjoy.
Disabled voters can also face privacy and security challenges when voting in person – or even at home, depending on the disability. Empowering disabled voters to make their voice heard through private, secure means will also address one of the most significant accessibility challenges in elections.