More on Vermont's pilot testing of telephone voting system

Hot off today’s wire services: go to this url to see the original wire report.

Election Officials from Across the Country to Attend Mock Election in Vermont

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Representatives from the Defense Department and Los Angeles County will be among the election officials gathered in Vermont this week to consider a vote-by-phone system that was
first introduced by the state in August. They will be joined by members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the federal commission responsible for helping to improve elections, at the first live demonstration of a voting
system that allows voters to cast their ballots using a regular telephone.

Officials from the Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program are investigating whether the technology might be a good way to meet the needs of military and overseas voters. Election officials from Los Angeles County,
the most populated county in the country, are also considering offering voting by phone to their constituents.

“This is the best technology available right now, so I’m not surprised that the Defense Department and others are giving it a good look,” Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz said today. “The vote-by-phone system meets the broadest range of needs and has the most flexibility for new, future applications.”

Vermont is the first state to announce that it will offer telephone voting in 2006, when it will make the new system available to every disabled voter in the state. According to IVS, the Kentucky-based voting services company that produces the system, several other states are also considering the technology.

According to Markowitz, Vermont will use system to meet accessibility requirements established by The Help America Vote Act, which gives states until January 1, 2006 to provide at least one voting system at each polling place that is disabled-accessible and may be used by visually-impaired voters in private and without help. The state may consider expanding its use of the system to include military, overseas and home-bound voters in the near future.

Vermont will hold the vote-by-phone demonstration and mock election Wednesday, October 5, in which 15-20 of the state’s counties will participate. Election officials, advocates and members of the press are invited to observe
the election from the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington.

Election Assistance Commissioner, Donetta Davidson; Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Polli Brunelli; James Dickson, Vice President for Governmental Affairs with the American Association of People with Disabilities; Jennifer Collins-Foley, president of the Pollworker Institute; Gary Mudd, vice president of the American Printing House for the Blind, John Garguilo, of the National Institute of Science and Technology and election officials from Los Angeles, San Diego, Solano and Sonoma Counties in California will attend.

System creator IVS will also make mock election ballots available via a toll-free number beginning October 1. Anyone who would like to experience voting by phone may call 866-979-3900 to cast a mock ballot.

The vote-by-phone system was developed in cooperation with prominent disability groups, and has earned the praise of both national and state disability leaders.