The teams at Clear Ballot and Perkins Access are working together to break the inaccessibility barrier. The Boston-based Clear Ballot’s mission is developing technologies that enable election officials nationwide to conduct “modern, efficient, and transparent elections” by way of its ClearMark devices and other products. ClearMark is touted as accessible, having been usability tested by folks at Perkins Access. The group is an offshoot of the Massachusetts-based Perkins School for the Blind that was founded in 1829. The Access team partners with various organizations (like Clear Ballot) to provide more accessible and engaging digital experiences for people with disabilities. The Clear Ballot-Perkins Access collaboration dates back to 2016, although work on the aforementioned ClearMark tech began earlier this year with three days of testing with volunteers.
“My job is to look at what we can build that solves problems for our customers. Our customers are generally jurisdictions across the United States who want elections. When we think about what should we build, we’re thinking about town clerks, for example, here in Massachusetts. Ultimately, we’re building the equipment that voters are going to interact with when they go to the polling place,” said Helen Michaud, Vice President of Product at Clear Ballot, in a recent telephone interview. “We’re thinking about [the] experience for the average citizen. What is it like for the poll worker who volunteers to give up their entire day and support the voting process? We’re trying to think about how we make each person’s role in this as streamlined and as straightforward as it can be, so we can encourage as many people [as possible] to participate in our democracy.”