New technology empowers voters with accessibility challenges

Oakland, CA, September 6, 2006.- Sequoia Voting Systems continues to lead the way with new technology that dramatically enhances the voting experience for people with disabilities.

Throughout the country, voters with accessibility challenges using election equipment from Sequoia Voting Systems will be able to cast their ballots easily, accurately and in complete privacy.

Sequoia Voting Systems is a leading provider of voting equipment, including specialized equipment to meet the needs of voters with accessibility challenges. This year, the company has created new advancements that make voting even easier for the blind, visually impaired, mobility impaired and people with literacy challenges.

"These systems work well because they were designed by the people who benefit the most from them," said Jack Blaine, president, Sequoia Voting Systems.

"These new machines will go a long way toward improving the voting experience for everyone." Sequoia?s voting equipment was designed, developed and tested in conjunction with accessibility professionals and advocates to ensure they fulfill the individual needs of a wide range of people with varying disabilities.

Sequoia?s widely used Edge touchscreen and full-faced Advantage electronic voting device easily accommodate wheelchair access. In addition, the Edge's large screen can be adjusted for people of differing heights.

Visually impaired and blind voters use the Edge and Advantage's audio voting handset that assists the voter through the voting process in their chosen language, given the choices that are offered in each jurisdiction. The voter listens to spoken prompts, and then marks the ballot by pressing the appropriate key on a tethered handset.

In addition, the equipment supports sip-and-puff implements and other dual switch devices to assist voters who wish to navigate the ballot using tactile input switches, buddy buttons, neck loops and other assistive devices.

Sequoia?s equipment already has been a success for voters across the country, in local primaries and other elections in 2006.

In Nevada, KLAS-TV Eyewitness News interviewed Jean Payton, who suffers from macular degeneration and previously had trouble voting on her own. When asked if the new Sequoia Voting Systems equipment was an improvement, she replied, "Absolutely, because I could do it independently. You know that is the most important thing for me. I am a person that wants to be independent and I want my vote to count, and I want it to be a secret ballot. This worked in every way for me."

The Edge and Advantage machines are both compliant with the Help America Vote Act, a federal law that guarantees all Americans the ability to vote, including people with disabilities.

About Smartmatic

Smartmatic is a multinational company that specializes in the design and end-to-end deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions. With an unsurpassed technology base, continuous innovation, and quality in processes and results, Smartmatic is organized around three business areas: Electronic voting systems, intelligent and integrated security systems for large enterprises and governments, and advanced solutions for people registration and authentication for a wide range of government applications.
Smartmatic is a privately held company with offices in the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Barbados, Spain, Philippines and Taiwan. It has more than 200 employees worldwide. Its capacity for innovation and wide range of products and services have earned Smartmatic extensive recognition in the technology community worldwide.

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About Sequoia Voting Systems
Sequoia Voting Systems is an American company, based in Oakland, California with a 100-year history of providing accurate, reliable, state-of-the-art voting solutions dating back to the nation's first lever-based mechanical voting equipment in the 1890s. Sequoia provides election technology, services and support to state and local government including precinct-based optical scan ballot readers, high-speed central count optical scan ballot readers, ballot layout and printing services, and full-face and paginating electronic voting equipment with optional printers that produce voter verifiable paper records. The company has hundreds of customers throughout 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Contact Information:
Michelle M. Shafer
VP, Communications & External Affairs