Although more than 225 million Americans are eligible to vote, only slightly more than half choose to do so (U.S. Census, 2006). To what extent do usability issues negatively affect this percentage? For one thing, uniformity is lacking. Currently, states manage the election process, and each voting district (comprising cities and counties within the state) is allowed to use the voting system of its choice. Some states mandate that all voting systems purchased
within the state must meet the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) prior to being purchased, but this is not a universal requirement, and only about half of those states enforce the guidelines.
Second, until recently, VVSG standards have not directly addressed the ability of the voter to perform the intended task of voting; they have provided only design guidelines. As a result, voting system interfaces vary significantly. Under federal law, voting systems must be made available to every U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote, including all users with disabilities. But because the regulatory standards of voting systems are not applied to the extent of other activities with a similar user base (such as driving on U.S. roadways or using a cell phone), they do not go far in meeting user accessibility requirements.