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Oregon offers vote by fondleslab-swipe

Special service for disabled citizens

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The US state of Oregon is pioneering fondleslab-voting for a primary election to replace US Representative David Wu, who resigned after a sex scandal.

Disabled voters will be able to use iPads provided by county election workers in parks, nursing homes and community centres to call up the ballot and vote with a swipe of their finger.

Oregon is already the first state in the US to have all its residents vote through the post, and now the tablet votes will be printed out on portable printers and sent in by mail.

Voters with poor vision can adjust the font size and screen colours, or even have the iPad "read" them the candidates' names, the Associated Press reported.

Any voter with limited mobility can also attach a "sip-and-puff" device to control the screen.

"It's a lot simpler for me. I think it's a great setup they got," 75-year-old Lewis Crews, who has arthritis so severe he can't hold a pen, told AP.

Previously, election officials had helped disabled voters by bringing them laptops with various accessibility modifications, but these had to be hauled around in suitcases and were difficult to set up. They think the iPad's portability and relatively low cost will make it easier to reach more voters.

State election officials have said they'll use the same system in the special general election in January and if the pilot (held in five of Oregon's counties) is successful, they'll make the service available across the state. ®

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