In the legislative elections on Sunday (27 September), a new interface will be tested that aims to give autonomy and privacy to people with special needs in the «simple» act of voting.
It is an «audio-tactile» interface, explained the people responsible for the project to Lusa. The ballot paper is placed between a smooth computer keyboard and a kind of raised grid. When voters touch the grid, the information contained in the bulletin is transmitted to them in audio, through headphones – which guarantee their privacy.
The grid also has openings above the squares – intended for the cross – where the reader must indicate their intention to vote.
The project for CERTIC – Center for Rehabilitation and Accessibility Engineering, at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), in Vila Real, aims to provide independence and privacy in voting for the elderly, illiterate and visually impaired people – something who is often compromised by the need for help in performing these tasks.
This pilot experiment aims to test the feasibility of the equipment. Voters who are going to exercise their right to vote, in the morning, at Escola Secundária S. Pedro, in Vila Real, will be invited to try the interface.
After voting in the traditional way, they will have the opportunity to simulate the election in a situation of disability (with a blindfold, for example), using the new equipment from CERTIC. Candidates for deputies from the Vila Real constituency will also be invited to participate.
UTAD was the first university in Europe to include in its program a degree in Human Rehabilitation and Accessibility Engineering in Europe, in 2007.
In the elections to the European Parliament in June, CERTIC invited voters to try to vote in a wheelchair, as a way to alert society to the difficulties of access to some polling stations.