Current law requires that voting precincts maintain voting machines that are accessible for the disabled, but some states have experienced problems maintaining multiple systems and training poll workers in their use, Gilbert said.
"If we can consolidate into one technology, then the training process becomes easier and it's more conducive for everyone," he said.
The Election Assistance Commission's Accessible Voting Technology Initiative was begun to "support research on transformative technologies and approaches to meet the critical challenge of making voting more accessible to all eligible voters."
Gilbert's project also addresses training and administration issues.
"Our research team is extremely interdisciplinary. We have individuals from the social sciences, engineering and computing. We have experts in accessibility. We also have experts who deal with administration: training election officials, training poll workers," Gilbert said.
"So this project deals with technology, but it is broader than the technology. We want to be able to train election officials to use the best technological solution and to find the processes for which this kind of technology can be integrated within states," he said.
Gilbert's Prime III software first was tested in controlled laboratory settings and later in national academic and trade association elections. He now plans to take it to public elections, first at the municipal level within the year, then in state and federal elections in 2012.
The software allows voters to cast ballots either by touch or by voice.
"If you can't see, can't hear, can't read or don't have arms, you can vote privately and independently on the same machine as anyone else," Gilbert said. "There's no ambigu
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