Vocal Democracy

The Vocal Democracy Project is focused on the development of a phone-based voting system to be used in elections. The goal is to provide a reliable, intuitive and highly secure speech-enabled voting mechanism for voters with visual impairments and other disabilities.

The principles motivating this project are:

Accessibility

As the most ubiquitous communications device of all (having a penetration rate of around 93 percent in the US), telephones make for an ideal voting mechanism. Moreover, telephones are relatively easy to use; most people (certainly those that own them and use them even semi-frequently) know how to operate a telephone and are comfortable doing so.

Speech is a more intuitive interface

Speech recognition can provide a more natural interface to the voting process. It can help address numerous issues encountered by some communities of voters during the voting process. For example, speech recognition can address challenges faced by the visually impaired. It can also help to mitigate the challenges faced by voters who may have low literacy levels, or who do not speak English as their primary language.

Source code transparency

If computer software and applications represent the encapsulation of government processes (and certainly some do), then transparency is an important consideration. The principle of openness in voting is an import way to communicate to the actors in the voting process that elections are being conducted fairly and accurately. The software and technology that is used by governments to conduct elections must be open to review and scrutiny.

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