Georgia campaigns fail to meet digital requirements for the visually impaired: report
Herschel Walker, Stacey Abrams score high in Miami Lighthouse for the Blind study
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A new report published six weeks before Georgia’s nationally watched 2022 midterms shows many statewide campaigns aren’t meeting digital, legal requirements for visually impaired voters.
The study was conducted by Virginia Jacko, CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and her all-blind information technology team.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to Jacko, guarantees people with disabilities the right to equal access to digital and online media. “Millions of Americans are vision impaired, including 12 million people 40 years and older,” she said.
The Miami Lighthouse developed a proprietary measuring tool, the ADA compliance meter, which analyzed the factors that allow disabled, visually impaired, and blind voters to review and consider the information on their political candidates’ websites.
In Georgia, Jacko’s study looked at the campaigns of Gov. Brian Kemp, Stacey Abrams, Herschel Walker and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. It also looked at other races around the nation, including:
- Catherine Cortez Masto (D), candidate for Senate in Nevada
- Adam Laxalt (R), candidate for Senate in Nevada
- Mark Kelly (D), candidate for Senate in Arizona
- Blake Masters (R), candidate for Senate in Arizona
- Josh Shapiro (D), candidate for governor in Pennsylvania
- Doug Mastriano (R), candidate for governor in Pennsylvania
- John Fetterman (D), candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania
- Dr. Mehmet Oz (R), candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania
- Susan Wild (D), congressional candidate in Pennsylvania’s 7th district
- Lisa Scheller (R), congressional candidate in Pennsylvania’s 7th district
- Kathy Hochul (D), candidate for governor in New York
- Lee Zeldin (R), candidate for governor in New York
None of the websites were fully compliant with the ADA, Jacko said, and none of the candidates had an accessibility statement that provides a method of contact, including a live email address and phone number that users can call for assistance.
Candidate websites also did not allow users to easily adjust color and font size.
In 2019, Jacko led another effort to analyze the presidential candidates’ websites, whose counsel is now reflected in an accessible WhiteHouse.gov.
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