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VIBS offensive?

I was going to post a message on this topic back in January when it came up during the Florida Certification effort with Mark Early et al.  Florida wanted the opening VIBS script changed from “Welcome to the Visually Impaired Voting System” to “Welcome to the Audio Ballot Voting System”.  The reason given was that they considered the nomenclature offensive.  We rejected this request, because we call the system VIBS throughout GEMS, the Card Creation Dialog, and documentation.  You can’t just change the name on the audio script without making it consistent the rest of the product.  That said, Florida changed it anyway for their own “we’re special” audio script, and I decided to just let sleeping dogs lie.


Today brought a second report with the same opinion, this time from Maryland, so I don’t think we can let this rest.  I am still having a tough time grasping at this though.  It does not seem to be a problem for the The Visually Impaired Persons of Southwest Florida, the University of Maryland’s Exhibition for the Visually Impaired, nor the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments.  Did someone make the term impaired offensive and not tell me?  It’s not like we are calling people who have trouble reading our ballot handicapped or blind.  Call me political correctness impaired I guess.


The prevailing alternative appears to be Audio Ballot.  Someone might want to go and trademark that while we have the chance.  If no one sees a problem with this change, we’ll do a system wide move to the new name in the next mainline releases.