Maine is using its primary elections Tuesday to debut new voting machines designed to aid people with disabilities.

The ExpressVote system is designed to make it easier to vote by offering both a visual and audio ballot. Voters can cast their tallies via touch screen or with a controller with Braille labels, unique shapes and colored buttons. The system will be available at all voting places.

ExpressVote

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says the goal is for all Mainers to be able to vote without assistance, ensuring the right to a secret ballot.

ExpressVote

He says it's a big improvement over the old system that allowed voters with disabilities to listen to an audio ballot and select the choices by pressing a button.

ExpressVote ADA

The company says features include:

  • Independence by the voter when casting ballot
  • Selection changes don't require starting new voting session
  • Sip-and-puff capability for voters with disabilities
  • Official ballot provided in both audio and visual formats
  • Disabled and non-disabled voting can take place simultaneously
  • Produces verifiable vote record
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Direct-recording electronic machine and a paper ballot trail

Elections watchdogs have long held that a paper trail is crucial for electronic machines so that the potential for fraud or major equipment malfunction is minimized.