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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2020 award for "Best in Nonprofit" campaign by PRWeek referred to as the "Oscars of the PR industry".
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.
Miami Lighthouse has earned the Gold participation level through the GuideStar Exchange which is a testament to Miami Lighthouse's commitment to data transparency.
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.
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.
Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.
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.
Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.
Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.
Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.
Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare's 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.
Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.
Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.