Five Cedars Group, Inc.

Empowering Voters with disabilities

to use their own digital devices

Ballots Supported on Multiple Digital Platforms.

HTML ballots can be marked on PC's, Mac's, iPads, iPhones, Surface tablets, etc.

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HTML Ballots Work With Multiple Screen Readers.

Unsighted voters mark their ballots using industry standard screen readers.
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Designed to Assist Voters With Disabilities.

Ballots are designed to work with bi-modal assistive devices.

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Large Print Ballots for Voters With Low Vision.

Large PDF ballots (11"x 17", 18pt font) are generated for voters needing larger, easier to read fonts.

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Works Within Vote-by-Mail and UOVACA Processes.

Besides VBM, AFB ballots also support military and other overseas voters.

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Follows EAC Security Guideline Recommendations.

Voter's ballot summaries are reproduced before entering a certified election system.

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AFB Ballots work with
assistive devices

Any peripheral device that can connect to a USB port can be used by a voter to navigate and make ballot selections:
Sip and Puff, Jelly Beans, Joysticks, etc.

AFB Testimonials

“The Alternate Format Ballot has given me the ability to do something I’ve never been able to do in my 18 years of being a registered voter–it has provided me the opportunity to mark my ballot privately and independently.”

Angel C. Hale, Training Center Director, Oregon Commission for the Blind.

“Even though the majority of Oregon voters have their ballots delivered by mail, I consider the AFB ballots an additional tool. Having alternatives like an HTML and large print ballot to meet the needs of voters only enhances our Vote-by-Mail process.”

Mickie Kawai, Elections Division Manager, Washington County, Oregon.

The AFB is a single HTML file!

Because the digital AFB is a single HTML file it does not require a live internet connection for the voter to use it. It can be downloaded by the voter or emailed to them to mark at their leisure.

Two ballot formats: HTML and Large Print Ballots!

Five Cedars Group's Alternate Format Ballot Generator process creates accessible HTML and large print (PDF) ballots from sets of county XML ballot data files. The ballot data is exported from the state’s centralized registration system insuring the AFB's are identical in content with traditional printed ballots. The ballots contain voter instructions, candidate races, ballot measures and office holder recalls.


It is important to note that each HTML ballot is contained in a single HTML file and requires no active internet connection while the voter is marking, checking and printing their ballot summary. This allows ballots to be downloaded, emailed or otherwise stored on media for access and use in remote locations.


The HTML version of the AFB leverages W3C Accessibility Guidelines. Ballots generated by the Ballot Generator perform all the functions required to meet accessibility standards such as:

The large print PDF ballots sizes can be selected as either 8.5" by 14" (16 point font) or 11" by 17" (18 point font). The font used on these ballots was developed by the American Printing House for the Blind specifically for low vision readers.


The HTML ballots are self-contained, meaning once they are loaded into a browser they do not request any data, graphics or navigation from a server. Once a voter receives a ballot, there is no internet connection required. Voters can mark their choices, print their Ballot Summary and complete the voting process, literally anywhere. All the ballot’s functions are self-contained in the JavaScript contained in the ballot. This is important for the following reasons:

HTML Ballot Summary or Large Print Ballot ready to be mailed

Both AFB formats work within existing USPS, fax or email ballot return processes, accommodating vote-by-mail, absentee or UOCAVA voters.

Our Story

The Five Cedars Group story starts with its founder, John Schmitt, and his determination to create great products. In 1993, several years after leaving a technical marketing position at Intel, John founded the OakTree Digital agency with a desire to create great products for great clients while building a supportive environment for exceptional people.

Over the years, OakTree Digital grew to be one of Portland’s premier digital agencies with clients such as Intel, Microsoft, Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), Elemental Technologies, The Lemelson Foundation, etc. OakTree completed well over 3,000 client projects as diverse as e-learning progress tracking, to a hospital’s door key tracking and management system, to a HIPPA compliance application, to the Alternate Format Ballot.

In 2007, OakTree won the opportunity to build the Alternate Format Ballot (AFB) product for the Oregon Secretary of State to meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act. The AFB process and ballots received their first test during the May 2008 Primary.

Over the past seven years, the Alternate Format Ballot has truly touched people’s lives in a positive way. The AFB is an HTML ballot used by voters with disabilities, particularly those with vision or mobility concerns. Oregon then expanded the AFB's use to include military and overseas voters (UOCAVA).

While building an HTML and PDF ballot generating system may seem out-of-place at an internet development agency, the user interfaces, complex JavaScript, multiple browser testing, and assistive software testing required was not that different than many of the projects OakTree had successfully delivered over the years.

Not much different, but so much more meaningful.

In February 2013, after leading OakTree Digital for twenty years, John sold the agency portion to another Portland based agency, Grady Britton, so he could pursue his passion: the Alternate Format Ballot. For branding continuity, Grady Britton acquired the OakTree name and John renamed the AFB development company the “Five Cedars Group”.

Regardless of the name change, the same entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to customer success carries on.

Contact Info:

Five Cedars Group, Inc.

PO Box 91448

Portland, OR 97291

503-536-1280

Email: AFB_info@fivecedarsgroup.com