November 25 2021 The North Eastern Association of City and Town Clerks Skip to main content

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It is an honor to address thought leaders in your field at your annual convention. It is good to be with people again. Access Ready Inc. is an independent, national nonprofit, cross disability, advocacy organization promoting a policy of inclusion and accessibility across information technology through education and best practices. We and our national, state and local Community Partner organizations know now that making information technologies accessible has been proven not only to be possible, but readily achievable. Accessibility is no longer rocket science. The Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and other federal and state statutes do not make exceptions for any technologies used by the government. Why haven't technology developers worked to be accessible? Simply put, Government officials including Chief Information and Purchasing Officers have not required them to do so. These government officers and companies have chosen to ignore the law. When you are considering new technologies: Think accessibility, Equality, Inclusion. A Continuum of Opportunity for All. I don't wish to be offensive, but professionals must be honest with each other. Access Ready and its national, state and local Community Partners will not stand by and allow any federal, state or local government agency, department or jurisdiction to buy inaccessible information technology of any kind without public objection at any level necessary. To be clear, we as an organization do not care who you buy from as long as it is accessible to the blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing and those with dexterity motor skill disabilities at a minimum. We have deemed these levels of accessibility to be readily achievable, however, we urge business, government and the nonprofit sectors to demand further accessibility development that serve a wider range of disabilities following standards set under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. You need to understand that because a vendor tells you they are accessible does not make it so. It is not something that happens by accident or because the hardware allows for it to be accessible. It happens by design and hard work that includes testing and approval by local, state or national disability organizations. Access Ready will help set up those testing relationships on request. What we will not do is allow people with disabilities to be ignored in the information technology space any longer. The Board of Directors of Access Ready has deemed inaccessible information technology to be a clear, growing, and present danger to the civic, economic, and social welfare of people with disabilities. This is not just rhetoric; it is the position we intend to enforce by whatever legal means are necessary.