On January 5th 2016 Thomas Manning, New Hampshire Assistant Secretary of State, presented information about theHelp America Vote Act (HAVA) and the strides New Hampshire has made in providing accessible voting. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (Pub.L. 107–252), is a United States federal law which passed in the House 357-48, 92-2 in the Senate, and was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002.
The presentation is very timely considering the primary is scheduled for February 9th 2016. In addition to being Assistant Secretary of State, Thomas Manning is one of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Disability (GCD) Executive Committee members and works closely with Executive Director Charles J. Saia on Commission affairs for the betterment of people with disabilities.
Assistant Secretary Manning described the voting process in the past and present throughout New Hampshire for people with disabilities, and outlined the use of a new system that facilitates the voting process. In the past, with the existing technology, it cost around $6000 per vote when a person with a disability used the system. It was unreliable and had only marginal acceptance. That now contrasts with a system that uses open source software, is relatively inexpensive, and uses easily obtainable hardware to operate. The result works well for everyone and keeps within the federal budget without additional state funding. The poll workers and the voters also have less anxiety over the voting process for people with a disability.