The push for mobile voting has been ignited in the wake of Hurricane Ian

ORLANDO, FL. – Voting can be a difficult process for many different groups across the country. For those affected by natural disasters, many polling stations have been destroyed. But voting can also be difficult for people who can’t leave their jobs, our troops overseas, and voters with disabilities.

The good news is that work is underway to make the 2024 presidential election more accessible to everyone.

“What if we could reinvent our electoral process? What if we completely reinvented how voters actually interact with their government,” asked Ramon Perez, founder of the nonprofit Voting Rights Brigade.

Perez is asking the big questions, but he’s also part of the solution.

“Our goal is to go nationwide,” he said. It is working to bring the mobile voting platform, Voatz, nationwide. She said she hopes to create a future where elections are accessible to all and where voters can vote from their phones.

“Basically, we’re saying you could vote from your couch. You don’t have to worry about taking the day off work. You don’t have to worry about crossing the city. You feel that sense of security that you are your voice is heard,” said Perez.

Mobile voting through Voatz is already being used in Colorado, West Virginia, Utah, Oregon, Arizona, South Dakota, Michigan and Massachusetts for municipal elections. With more support from community members, more states could get on board.

“The technology is built in a way to make it unhackable, to make it transparent so you can see that the vote tallies are all correct. You can have independent third-party audits,” Perez said

Perez said mobile voting could help vulnerable populations of all kinds stay involved in democracy, everyone from voters with disabilities to victims of natural disasters.

“In Florida, election season is also hurricane season. Whether it’s fire, earthquake or hurricane, or whatever the case may be, people displaced by some sort of natural disaster shouldn’t give up their right to be heard in the voting process,” Perez said.

It is taking mobile voting one step further with the launch of the Digital Democracy project.

It allows people to vote from home on their phone or computer for both elections and specific pieces of legislation. Perez wants future voters to have the ability to have their voices heard on every piece of legislation that local, state and federal officials are working on.

This would increase access for all to participate, especially those with disabilities.

James Chip Byers works with Perez to expand voting options for people with disabilities. The launch of mobile voting is their biggest project yet.

“We now have wheelchair accessible voting machines in every borough and every county. So that was a great result,” Byers said.

Byers knows that’s not enough. Some voters will still be excluded. That’s why he wants to make mobile voting available in every state.

“Voting hasn’t really moved with the pace of technology,” Byers said. “I feel it’s a shame because voting is one of the most important things we can do in our life and we should have the best technology.”

Byers said wider use of mobile voting and the Digital Democracy Project could prevent people with disabilities from feeling isolated and excluded from the electoral process.

“Disability is still the one minority group that people just don’t understand. They think of them as people who need help,” Byers said. “We don’t want to be helped, we just want to be included. And we want to help make the world a better place.”

That’s why Byers and Perez hope that in 2024 more people will be willing to try both the digital democracy project and mobile voting via Voatz.

“We’d love to see people try it for themselves and see how it goes,” Perez said.

“In time, it will prove that investing in technology and the best we have to offer and bringing that into our political system will ultimately pay off,” Byers said. “No question.”

If you would like more information on the Digital Democracy Project, click HERE. If you would like more information on the Voatz mobile voting system, click HERE.

To get in touch with the Voting Rights Brigade, click HERE.

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