Did you know that people living with disabilities make up between 20-25% of the global population? This is a large group that many companies forget to think of when building their websites. Web accessibility compliance is an ADA requirement and lack of compliance has cost many businesses thousands of dollars in fines and attorney’s fees. Take Texas as an example.
Over 80 county voting websites in Texas are failing to comply with federal laws because their websites are not accessible to people with disabilities. Because of this, the Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) filed a systemic class complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 4.
County voting websites contain critical information for voters, including polling locations and hours. In light of COVID-19 and changing voter information, it is now especially important that all voters have equal access to voting information on county voting websites.
In July, DRTx released an investigative report, “Web Failures: How County Voting Websites Leave Voters with Disabilities in the Dark.” The report shows that many Texas county voting websites are out of compliance with federal laws because they lack both critical voting information and accessible features which result in people with disabilities failing to receive the same voting information that people without disabilities receive. The report came after a year-long investigation that included an assessment of every county voting website in Texas.
Following the report release, DRTx notified each county of the individual deficiencies of its voting websites and requested the county let DRTx know of its plan to address the website accessibility issues, including what steps the county anticipates taking to ensure compliance for the county’s voting website and when the county anticipates completing the steps. DRTx has committed to provide assistance and resources to counties to make these important improvements. However, many counties failed to respond to the demand.
As a result, DRTx made the determination that additional steps were warranted. This resulted in filing a systemic complaint with the DOJ requesting that the agency investigate these cases of disability discrimination and direct the counties to comply with the law by making needed changes to their voting websites.
“Texas is facing unprecedented challenges during the 2020 election cycle,” said Molly Broadway, Voting Rights Training Specialist for DRTx. “The pandemic has increased our use of and dependence on digital information. Now more than ever, providing equal access to the voting process for people with disabilities through county websites must become a priority.”
Voters are being left in the dark and it isn’t right. Businesses and organizations need to make sure their websites are ADA compliant so that everyone has an equal opportunity to gain access to information on their sites. If you’re unsure if your website is ADA compliant, contact us to find out how you can get a free audit on your site instantly. Maximize ADA will not only provide you with an immediate audit, but we’ll fix the issues on your site at a reasonable price.