Invention Helps Disabled Voters

Voters with disabilities taking part in university elections in Londonderry were today using a new electronic voting system designed by a student.

The sytem implemented at Magee Campus for the annual student elections allows people who are living with a disability to be able to vote privately, without the help of someone else to fill out a ballot form.

 The system was designed by third year student Vincent Quigley, who is currently studying in the field of computing.

Mr Quigley said: “My final year project was to design and implement an electronic voting system which is supposed to be easily used and highly accessible. I designed it from start to finish, programming and all.

“It is aimed at people who are computer illiterate and people with disabilities like dyslexia. It can also be used by blind people and those people who have limited motor functions, to make the voting process not only easier for them but also more private.

“The Students’ Union wanted to go electronic for this year’s elections. I went to them and asked if I could use their elections to implement my voting system on a small scale. This is the first time that the students will have an opportunity to vote electronically instead of the traditional paper ballots. At the minute it’s a prototype and will only be done at Magee and the students will continue to have the option to vote the traditional way, on paper.”

Mr Quigley also said his voting system is being used to demonstrate how technology can make society more democratic. “The reason for designing it is so that it can be used by different types of people so that they can vote in privacy. For example, a disabled person who has limited mobility in their arms would have to get someone to help them fill in the paper ballots for voting, their vote is not private.

“The system I have designed allows all types of people of different backgrounds and abilities to vote in secrecy like the rest of society. For this reason I hope this system, or one like it, will become more widely available to voters everywhere.”