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Being aware of how to vote and knowing about the policy platforms and priorities of different candidates and political parties are essential to informed political participation. Much of this information is now provided online, so it is necessary for such websites to meet accessibility standards. Legal standards for website accessibility, where they exist in EU Member States, often only apply to public sector websites.
This indicator measures whether the website to provide instructions for voting and information on candidates run by the federal ministry responsible for organising elections declares that it meets accessibility standards, namely the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which provide a global standard for web accessibility.
Does the website which provides instructions for voting and information on candidates meet accessibility standards?
Sources: FRA, 2014
|Yes, website is WCAG 2.0 AA compliant|
|Partially, some accessibility measures are in place|
|No/No data identified|
The data collected by FRA presents a mixed picture regarding the accessibility of websites giving information on voting and candidates for election. In six out of 28 EU Member States no conclusive evidence was identified and in only 10 countries was it possible to confirm that such websites meet the AA accessibility standard. However, in a further 12 Member States it was possible to identify that some accessibility measures had been implemented.
Data for Member States in the first group typically show that the website of the national electoral authority meets WCAG 2.0 AA standards. This is the case for example in Sweden, where the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Co-ordination (Handisam) also rated the Central Election Authority’s website as accessible according to a comparison of the accessibility of public authority websites 2013. In the Czech Republic, both the website providing summaries of all candidates and the results of elections run by the Czech Statistical Office and the page providing instructions for voting on the website of the Ministry of Interior meet the WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards.
In the second group of Member States, websites providing this information do not indicate that they meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standard but FRA data shows that some measures are implemented to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities. In Spain, for instance, the website of the Ministry of the Interior has a section on ‘Accessible voting’, which includes information on electoral processes and a link to a telephone text service for persons with hearing impairments. Similarly, the Polish National Election Commission website contains tools for text enlargement, a simplified text version, a high contrast version, and pre-recorded video materials accompanied by text.