The 26th Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights states that individuals 18 years of age or older have the right and opportunity to vote. On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, voters will go to the polls to elect a new President. We all have the right to vote. However, in years past, it has been quite difficult for a member of the blind community to participate in such an important event without the aid of a sighted individual. Today, in the 21st century, this is no longer the case. As a member of the blind community, what is your reason for not voting?
Over the years, there have been times, when I just dreaded having to go vote. First, I would have to find transportation. Second, I would have to ask for assistance to cast my vote once I got there. Most of the time I could usually bribe a family member or friend to help me with this endeavor, but nine times out of ten, I would usually have to ask a volunteer to help me with this very important task.
On October 29, 2002, President George Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act otherwise known as HAVA. With the enactment of HAVA, federal funding was given to each state to address irregularities with voting systems, provide volunteers with improved voter education and to replace punch card voting machines. HAVA also require that each state have at least one voting
Machine per polling place to allow voters with disabilities to vote privately and
Today, with the accessible voting machine, it is possible for the blind and visually impaired to vote without sighted assistance. The accessible voting machine looks like a normal voting machine but is equipped with a pair of headphones so that the voter can receive audible instructions and information. You simply just push a button for the candidate of your choice. It’s easy as 1-2-3!
The accessible voting machine should be readily available to you to use when you arrive at your polling location. If it is not, ask for them to set it up for you. All volunteers should know how to use the accessible voting machine and should also be able to instruct you on how to use it as well. If you have any trouble or concerns during or after your voting experience then you should notify your Secretary of State’s office.
The blind and visually impaired, for many years, has always had to depend on sighted assistance to vote. Today, with the accessible voting machine and implemented laws such as HAVA, we are finally able to vote both privately and most importantly, independently!
Have you used the accessible voting machine to cast your vote? Let me know by leaving a comment below.