Voting Now Easier for Blind and Visually Impaired

1 decade 2 years 9 months ago Tuesday, August 08 2006 Aug 8, 2006 Tuesday, August 08, 2006 6:00:25 PM CDT August 08, 2006 in News

Dacia Luck has voted before, but this time was different and it's changed the way she'll vote the rest of her life.

"Now I have the opportunity to go vote on my own ballot. Nobody has to know what I voted," she said. "And I like that freedom because if I want to tell someone what I voted, that's fine. But before, I didn't have a choice. I had to tell someone what I wanted in order for my ballot to be counted."

Thanks to a new automated system, blind and visually-impaired voters can hear the choices, then press each option through Braille buttons.

"The benefits are that it's more independent for them, that they can do it if they don't have a friend to come with them to vote," explained poll worker Christopher Nesladek. "They can just come in and get set up on the machine and do it by themselves."

Luck added, "It seems a bit overwhelming when you first try it, but once I got into it and realized how to navigate it, it was very easy and went very quickly."

Accessible voting machines could be at all polls by the Nov. 7 election, which Luck appreciates.

"The philosophy that blindness isn't anything more than a nuisance, that there's not a lot that blindness can stop you from doing as long as you got the skills and the technology to do it, you can do pretty much anything," she said. "And this voting machine proves that you can walk into a polling place here in Boone County and say, 'I want to vote' and be completely independent and that is an awesome, awesome feeling."

The Federation for the Blind hopes to work out any problems voters had Tuesday before the November election.

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