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The 2020 ADA Compliance Meter Report: Swing State Board of Elections Websites
September 2020

Research Rationale

At the beginning of the primary season last fall, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind uncovered shocking news: none of the websites of the presidential candidates were fully accessible and ADA Compliant, potentially shutting out 61 million voters living with a disability from the information needed to learn more about the next president.

Now in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fully accessible board of election websites for blind and visually impaired voters are imperative for requesting vital voter information.

Miami Lighthouse, a leader in website accessibility and advisor to presidential campaigns, wants to ensure the millions of blind and visually impaired Americans, a very tactile population and a key voting bloc that can make or break an election, are not excluded from voting. For the over 12 million adults who are visually impaired or blind, independently voting amid a pandemic already poses many hurdles, from loss of privacy in needing assistance to fill out voter forms to ensuring signatures match on mail-in ballots. These hurdles are only exacerbated if websites are not fully accessible or compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA guarantees people with all disabilities the right to equal access, including the blind and visually impaired. This means access to digital and online media in addition to physical spaces.

Below is a full report of our findings and methodology.

What We Uncovered

  • None of the websites were fully compliant with the ADA.
  • Some of the websites were mostly compliant with the ADA, however for the majority of websites, users were unable to adjust color and font size.
  • The majority of the websites scored higher than the Miami Lighthouse’s initial scan of the 2020 Presidential candidates.
  • Some of the websites were missing an accessibility statement that provides a method of contact including a live email address and phone number that users can call for assistance.

Scores

 
Rank Elections Websites Score
1 New Hampshire 3.78
2 Michigan 3.56
2 Ohio 3.56
4 Pennsylvania 3.22
4 Nevada 3.22
6 Iowa 3.13
7 North Carolina 3.00
7 Minnesota 3.00
7 Wisconsin 3.00
10 Colorado 2.89
11 Florida 2.88
12 Virginia 2.50
 

Our Methodology

An assessment was conducted by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind on September 16, 2020. The sample was comprised of the board of elections websites for 12 key swing states [Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Virginia], as they appeared on that date. Websites were assessed for accessibility to persons using assistive technology software such as screen readers. Websites were ranked in order of accessibility. The process consisted of analyzing each website using the latest assistive technology screen reading software such as JAWS for Windows and the World-Wide Consortium (W3C) Website Accessibility Content Guidelines (WCAG v2.0/2.1) subset of 10 criteria. The review was conducted by the CEO of Miami Lighthouse and her IT experts, all of whom are blind. Scoring was based on the following criteria and scale:

We used a subset of the most common criteria from the WCAG v2.0/2.1. The weighting scale numbers assigned to each criteria were evaluated on a 50 percent scale majority. Therefore, as an example using the criteria of: “Is website organized for ease of navigation” using our best knowledge and experience with assistive technology software, if more than half of the individual pages examined on a particular website exceeded 50 percent of the specific criteria such as if the pages contained proper region divisions for page organization, the weight score would be a 3 for mostly accessible. If it fell below half of the individual pages, then the score would be a 2 for somewhat accessible.

In addition, if the specific criteria could not be verified using assistive technology software, then the score for that particular criteria would be a 1 for not accessible and if the criteria was fully verified using the assistive technology software throughout all pages on a site, then the score would be a 4 for fully accessible. If an element such as a video, is not found on the website using screen reading software, it will receive an N/A for not applicable and not receive a number score for that category.

Criteria

  • Is website organized for ease of navigation?
  • Are headings appropriately structured?
  • Do logos and links have descriptive alt text?
  • Can users select active links with keystroke commands?
  • Can users control changing images?
  • Does site have play/pause video controls?
  • Are users able to adjust color and font size?
  • Can users easily fill out forms on site?
  • Can users access error messages?
  • Is there a commitment statement to website accessibility?

Scale

  • 1: website was not accessible
  • 2: website was somewhat accessible
  • 3: website was mostly accessible
  • 4: website was totally accessible

About the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Through education, training, research and vision enhancement, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a center for learning that provides hope, confidence, and independence to people of all ages, transforming the lives of over 90,000 blind and visually impaired people annually, from babies to seniors, and their families. For nearly a century it has been Florida's premier rehabilitation organization serving the blind. Miami Lighthouse serves over 25,000 blind and visually impaired people each year.

For more information, please contact Virginia Jacko, President and Chief Executive Officer at (305) 856-4176 or vjacko@miamilighthouse.org.

 


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Miami Lighthouse is honored by the following

 

PR Week

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2020 award for "Best in Nonprofit" campaign by PRWeek referred to as the "Oscars of the PR industry".

Charity Navigator

Miami Lighthouse ranks among the elite 1% of U.S. nonprofits having earned 12 consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation's premier independent nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor dollars, and financial strength.

GuideStar Exchange's Gold Participant

Miami Lighthouse has earned the Gold participation level through the GuideStar Exchange which is a testament to Miami Lighthouse's commitment to data transparency.

The Children's Trust

Early Intervention Blind Babies Program Named the Children's Trust 2016 Program of the Year. This most prestigious award recognizes this Early Intervention Program, in particular, for including parents as teachers.

 
 

Florida Blue Foundation

Miami Lighthouse was recognized at the 2015 Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards luncheon as an organization that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health.

The Beacon Council

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.

Marlins Charity Partner

Miami Lighthouse is a two-time Charity Partner (2013 and 2014) of the Marlins Foundation and a 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Legacy Partner. Our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program has received over $300,000 in charitable donations through these partnerships.

Health Foundation of South Florida

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.

 
 

Miami Today

Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.

Miami New Times - Best of Miami 2017

Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.

United Homecare

Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare's 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.

South Florida Business Journal

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.

Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.

 
 

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