1-5-704. Standards for accessible voting systems
Overview of Statute
Minimum standards for voting systems and ballot access.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, each voting system certified by the secretary of state for use in local, state, and federal elections shall have the capability to accept accessible voter interface devices in the voting system configuration to allow the voting system to meet the following minimum standards:
(a) The voting system shall provide a tactile input or audio input device, or both.
(b) The voting system shall provide a method by which electors can confirm any tactile or audio input by audio output using synthetic or recorded human speech.
(c) Any operable controls on the input device that are needed by electors who are visually impaired shall be indicated in braille or otherwise discernible tactilely without actuating the keys.
(d) Devices providing audio and visual access shall be able to work both separately and simultaneously.
(e) If a nonaudio access approach is provided, the voting system may not require color perception. The voting system shall use black text or graphics, or both, on white background or white text or graphics, or both, on black background, unless the secretary of state approves other high-contrast color combinations that do not require color perception.
(f) Any voting system that requires any visual perception shall allow the font size as it appears to the voter to be set from a minimum of fourteen points to a maximum of twenty-four points before the voting system is delivered to the polling location.
(g) The voting system shall provide audio information, including any audio output using synthetic or recorded human speech or any auditory feedback tones that are important for the use of the audio approach, through at least one mode, by handset or headset, at high volume and shall provide incremental volume control with output amplification up to a level of at least ninety-seven decibel sound pressure level.
(h) For voice signals transmitted to the elector, the voting system shall provide a gain adjustable up to a minimum of twenty decibels with at least one intermediate step of twelve decibels.
(i) If the voting system can exceed one hundred twenty decibel sound pressure level, a mechanism shall be included to reset the volume automatically to the voting system’s default volume level after every use, such as when the handset is replaced, but not before. Universal precautions in the use and sharing of headsets should be followed.
(j) If sound cues and audible information such as “beeps” are used, simultaneous corresponding visual cues and information shall be provided.
(k) Controls and mechanisms shall be operable with one hand, including with a closed fist, and operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
(l) The force required to operate or activate the controls may not exceed five pounds of force.
(m) Voting booths shall have voting controls at a minimum height of thirty-six inches above the finished floor with a minimum knee clearance of twenty-seven inches high, thirty inches wide, and nineteen inches deep, or the accessible voter interface devices shall be designed so as to allow their use on top of a table to meet such requirements. Tabletop installations shall ensure adequate privacy.
(n) Audio ballots shall meet the following standards:
(I) After the initial instruction from an election official, the elector shall be able to independently operate the voter interface device through the final step of casting a ballot without assistance.
(II) The elector shall be able to determine the offices for which the elector is allowed to vote and to determine the candidates for each office.
(III) The elector shall be able to determine how many candidates may be selected for each office.
(IV) The elector shall have the ability to verify that the physical or vocal inputs given to the voting system have selected the candidates that the elector intended to select.
(V) The elector shall be able to review the candidate selections that the elector has made.
(VI) Before casting the ballot, the elector shall have the opportunity to change any selections previously made and confirm a new selection.
(VII) The voting system shall communicate to the elector the fact that the elector has failed to vote for an office or has failed to vote the number of allowable candidates for an office and require the elector to confirm his or her intent to undervote before casting the ballot.
(VIII) The voting system shall warn the elector of the consequences of overvoting for an office.
(IX) The elector shall have the opportunity to input a candidate’s name for each office that allows a write-in candidate.
(X) The elector shall have the opportunity to review the elector’s write-in input to the voter interface device, edit that input, and confirm that the edits meet the elector’s intent.
(XI) The voting system shall require a clear, identifiable action from the elector to cast the ballot. The voting system shall explain to the elector how to take this action so that the elector has minimal risk of taking the action accidentally, but when the elector intends to cast the ballot, the action can be easily performed.
(XII) After the ballot is cast, the voting system shall confirm to the elector that the ballot has been cast and the elector’s process of voting is complete.
(XIII) After the ballot is cast, the voting system shall prevent the elector from modifying the ballot cast or voting another ballot.
(o) Ballot marking devices shall meet the following standards:
(I) The elector shall be able simultaneously to view ballot choices on a high-resolution visual display and to listen to ballot choices with headphones.
(II) The elector shall be able to listen to ballot choices in complete privacy and to turn off the visual display.
(III) The ballot marking device shall have multiple output connections to accommodate various headsets so that the elector is able to use the headset provided with the ballot marking device or his or her own headset.
(IV) The elector shall be able to mark the ballot card in complete independence and in accordance with federal and state law on mandatory accessibility for persons with disabilities.
(V) The ballot marking device shall allow a blind or visually impaired elector to vote in complete privacy.
(VI) The ballot marking device shall have a completely integrated input keypad containing commonly accepted voter accessibility keys with Braille markings.
(VII) The elector shall be able to enter ballot choices using an assistive device, including but not limited to a sip and puff device and a jelly switch.
(VIII) The elector shall be able to magnify the ballot choices on the visual display and to adjust the volume and speed of the audio output.
(IX) The ballot marking device shall have multiple language capability.
(X) The elector shall have the opportunity to input a candidate’s name for each office that allows a write-in candidate and to review the elector’s write-in input, edit that input, and confirm that the edits meet the elector’s intent.
(XI) The elector shall be able independently to review all ballot choices and make corrections before the ballot card is marked, including by receiving a replacement ballot if the elector is otherwise unable to change the ballot or correct an error.
(XII) The elector shall be able to verify, visually or using the audio interface, that the ballot card inserted into the device at the start of voting is blank and that the marked ballot card produced by the ballot marking device is marked as the elector intended.
(XIII) The ballot marking device shall alert the elector before the ballot is marked that the elector has made an overvote, as defined in section 1-1-104 (23.4), or an undervote, as defined in section 1-1-104 (49.7), and allow the elector to make corrections.
Source: L. 2004: Entire part added, p. 1355, § 15, effective May 28.L. 2007: (1)(o) added, p. 1975, § 19, effective August 3.L. 2013: (1)(f) amended, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 714, § 52, effective May 10.
Cross references: In 2013, subsection (1)(f) was amended by the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act”. For the short title and the legislative declaration, see sections 1 and 2 of chapter 185, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.
- Audio ballots
- Ballot card
- Ballot marking
- Election Day
- Regulation of Polling Places
- Services for Disabled Voters
- tactile input or audio input device
- Technological Standards
- Voting Technology
“Voting system” as defined in section 1-1-104(50.8), C.R.S., means:
(a) The total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment (including the software, firmware, and documentation required to program, control, and support the equipment) that is used to:
(2) Cast and count votes;
(3) Report or display election results; and
(4) Maintain and produce any audit trail information.
(b) The practices and associated documentation used to:
(1) Identify system components and versions of such components;
(2) Test the system during its development and maintenance;
(3) Maintain records of system errors and defects;
(4)Determine specific system changes to be made to a system after the initial qualification of the system; and
(5) Make available any materials to the voter (such as notices, instructions, forms, or paper ballots).
(c) “Voting system” does not include any other component of election administration, such as voter registration applications or systems, electronic pollbooks, ballot delivery and retrieval systems, signature verification and envelope sorting devices, ballot on demand printers, election night reporting and other election reporting systems, and other components used throughout the election process that do not capture and tabulate votes.
The rules define “ballot marking device (BMD)” as a device that may integrate components such as an optical scanner, printer, touch-screen monitor, audio output, and a navigational keypad and uses electronic technology to:
(a) Mark a paper ballot at voter direction;
(b) Interpret the ballot selections;
(c)Communicate the interpretation for voter verification; and
(d)Print a voter-verifiable ballot.
The rules define “audio ballot” as a voter interface containing the list of all candidates, ballot issues, and ballot questions upon which an eligible elector is entitled to vote in an election. It also provides the voter with audio stimuli and allows the voter to communicate voting intent to the voting system through vocalization or physical actions.
1. Definition for Ballot marking device
A device that allows an elector to mark a ballot card used in an electromechanical voting system and that meets the standards in section 1-5-704(1)(o). C.R.S. § 1-5-702.
2. Definition for Accessible voter interface device
A device that communicates voting instructions and the information on the ballot to an elector and allows the elector to select and vote for candidates, ballot questions, and ballot issues in accordance with the standards in section 1-5-704. A ballot marking device may be considered an accessible voter interface device. C.R.S. § 1-5-702.
3. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
4. Definition for Title
A brief statement that fairly and accurately represents the true intent and meaning of the proposed text of the initiative.
5. Definition for Ballot
(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;
(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or
(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.
(2) “Covered voter” means:
(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or
(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.
C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
6. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
7. Definition for Section
A bound compilation of initiative forms approved by the secretary of state, which shall include pages that contain the warning required by section 1-40-110 (1), the ballot title, the abstract required by section 1-40-110 (3), and a copy of the proposed measure; succeeding pages that contain the warning, the ballot title, and ruled lines numbered consecutively for registered electors’ signatures; and a final page that contains the affidavit required by section 1-40-111 (2). Each section shall be consecutively prenumbered by the petitioner prior to circulation.
8. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
9. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
10. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.