Woman with disability says polls not accommodating after new voter ID law

1 week 2 days 19 hours ago Wednesday, November 08 2017 Nov 8, 2017 Wednesday, November 08, 2017 6:09:00 PM CST November 08, 2017 in News
By: Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter & Hailey Jennings, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA- Kirsten Richards said she's a conscientious voter. Rain or shine, she thinks it's important for her voice to be heard.

"Unless I'm very ill, I vote. Even if it's only a two question ballot, which is what it was for me yesterday," Richards said.

Though she's consistent, that doesn't mean her voting experiences are easy ones.

Richards suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her reading ability at a second grade level, and she can't read the ballot while she's voting.

"They send us a sample ballot, and I spend the week studying and preparing and marking the answers so I know the order of the circles I need to fill out when I go in," Richards said.

When she went to her typical voting center at the Parkade Baptist Church Tuesday evening, she figured it would be like every other time. But there was a new hurdle for Richards that she hadn't prepared for.

Richards always uses her passport, which expired in 1994, as her form of identification when voting. She wasn't familiar with the ShowIt2Vote law, Missouri’s new photo voter ID law that went into effect on June 1, 2017. The law makes voters sign an affidavit if they don't have a valid Missouri-issued photo ID. 

Richards had never seen the affidavit before and couldn't understand what it said.

"It was really close together, and it was small print and the lines were long, and those are all things that make it even harder for me to read," Richards said.

Richards said the election officials claimed it was just a document confirming her name and address were correct. But she was able to make out the words "perjury" and "not having ID" and knew there was more to what she was signing. Officials offered to read the affidavit to her, but Richards declined, still unsure of what the form actually said, a form that was punishable under penalty of perjury.

"If I go to a restaurant and can't read the menu, and they read the menu to me, that's fine. Worst case scenario, I'm going to get food that I didn't expect," Richards said. "But when I'm signing a legally binding document under penalty of perjury, having some random stranger read it to you is not acceptable."

After speaking to the Boone County Clerk over the phone, it became clear that if she wanted another kind of accommodation, she would either have to go to the Boone County Government Center or not vote at all.

"I appreciate the volunteers and their dedication and effort, but when two nonagenarians are taking turns trying to read something they can barely read themselves, it's very frustrating and difficult to understand," Richards said.

The Boone County Clerks Office said its accommodations are more than in line.

"The judges reading the affidavit to them complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act," said County Clerk Taylor Burks.

The clerk's office also offers absentee ballots, the ability to bring a personal assistant to help with voting, and a text-to-speech booth that's only available at the Boone County Government Center.

Richards is used to using the iPads at the Parkade Baptist Church to vote, and her personal iPad has text-to-speech functionality that's native to the device.

She said the whole situation would've been resolved if the iPads at the voting center had that function turned on, which is as simple as hitting a button.

"What they should have done was adjusted the machine that I was trying to sign so it would read because it was already capable of doing that," Richards said.

"If a voter ever has a suggestion on how we can be more compliant or more accommodating for an individual with a disability, I'm open to exploring how we can do that," Burks said.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man Thursday after a woman said he had sexually assaulted her. According to police,... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 2:42:56 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Housing Development Commission held a meeting with Missouri citizens to share the final decisions for the... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis' largest skyscraper is on the market following foreclosure. The vacant 44-story office... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:30:48 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — A judge has agreed to once again push back the trial date for a St. Louis-area... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:28:54 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — The driver of a stolen vehicle involved in a crash that killed four people has been... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:26:19 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police officers will be required each month to read and acknowledge an order reiterating... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 12:48:28 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
DONIPHAN (AP) — Authorities are investigating an unusual drowning in the Current River. The Missouri State Highway Patrol... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 12:44:22 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police have arrested a suspect accused of stealing several items, including handguns, from unlocked cars. It comes... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 11:54:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
MACON - Macon's fire chief said a business outlet is a total loss after a severe fire that started Thursday... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 11:41:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
FULTON - Westminster College is taking a stand against sexual assault culture on campus. The college received a $300,000... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 11:01:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Department of Agriculture is altering its rules for use of BASF's dicamba herbicide on... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 10:46:49 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she's giving away $30,000 that fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken's leadership... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 10:16:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — Officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol are searching for the driver who struck a scooter,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 9:22:54 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis fire officials call it amazing that no one was hurt when part of a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 8:43:18 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler is in Columbia Friday to meet with local business owners to hear their input on the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 7:50:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia Regional Airport has seen a record-breaking number of fliers this holiday season. It’s the first... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:14:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission met Thursday night in front of a small crowd to discuss agreements... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 1:30:00 AM CST November 17, 2017 in News
Fulton - Prom season came early this year in North Callaway, with the Future Farmers of America club giving senior... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, November 16 2017 Nov 16, 2017 Thursday, November 16, 2017 8:18:00 PM CST November 16, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
2pm 45°
3pm 47°
4pm 47°
5pm 45°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:30a
English Premier League Soccer
1:30p
Premier League Goal Zone
2:00p
Notre Dame Countdown to Kickoff
1:00p
Rookie Blue
2:00p
Rookie Blue
3:00p
Elementary

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld