R&D notes

Running—semijustly—for Manhattan DA

Manhattan District Attorney

Jonathan Robert Pool

Candidates for Manhattan District Attorney, ranked on digital accessibility

Although all 2021 candidates for Manhattan District Attorney profess a commitment to uphold the law and protect human rights, their own campaign websites contain accessibility defects, violating industry and legal standards that protect individuals, especially those with disabilities, when they browse the web.

The ratings

How do the candidate web pages stack up?

In the following ratings, based on a method employed by Johns Hopkins University, the candidates’ home pages are ordered from most (at the top) to least (at the bottom) accessible. Details on the methodology are described in a companion article on mayoral candidates.

Manhattan District Attorney candidate web accessibility (best to worst)
13Liz Crottyhttps://www.lizcrotty2021.com/
20Diana Florencehttps://dianaforda.com/
49Alvin Bragghttps://www.alvinbragg.com/
55Tahanie Aboushihttps://www.tahanieforda.com/
78Thomas Kenniffhttps://kenniff4da.com/
92Dan Quarthttps://danquart.com/
125Eliza Orlinshttps://elizaorlins.com/
135Lucy Langhttps://www.votelucylang.com/
144Tali Farhadian Weinsteinhttps://www.taliforda.com/

Who wins?

By this rating method, Liz Crotty has the most accessible, and Tali Farhadian Weinstein has the least accessible, home page.

What’s the matter?

The rating method uses two programs, Axe and WAVE. They both inspect a web page, report some accessibility problems, and rate their severity. Combined, they give a quick preliminary estimate of how accessible or inaccessible a web page is. These are free testing tools that any web developer can use. A web developer who eliminates all the errors they reveal would make pages earn a deficit score of 0. None of the developers hired by these candidates did that.

So, some persons, especially those with disabilities, will have trouble on all of the campaign websites.

All the candidate home pages exhibit a mixture of accessible and inaccessible features. Some of the accessible features:

But all the home pages, even those with the best scores, also have accessibility flaws. Among them:

Moral of the story

Whoever is elected Manhattan District Attorney will be required by state law to make his or her official website accessible. By selecting qualified employees or contractors to create an accessible campaign website, a candidate could demonstrate both competence in procurement and a respect for legal rights. The results so far are a mixed bag. Most of the pages show some effort at accessibility, but none of the candidates has procured a completely accessible website, or even one that can pass the tests run by free tools.


This work was inspired by the Johns Hopkins University Vaccine Website Accessibility Dashboard and by colleagues who examined 2020 presidential candidate websites. This work is entirely my own and does not represent my employer, CVS Health.

I thank Jared Smith of WebAIM for details on the Vaccine Accessibility Dashboard method.