Advocates Show Up In Force To Evaluate Voting Systems
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 11, 2006
HENRIETTA, NEW YORK--Advocates from the Center for Disability Rights, and other voters with disabilities, made up about one-half of the crowd on hand to evaluate seven voting machine models from four manufacturers last Thursday.
The Finger Lakes Times reported, however, that those voters were disappointed by the vendors' offerings.
"It's just a big topic for people with disabilities," said Chris Hilderbrant, the center's director of advocacy who uses a wheelchair. "Voting is something that normal, able-bodied, fully sighted people take for granted. Access to voting is something that we've been denied."
The Monroe County Board of Elections adopted a plan last summer calling for voting machines to include a voter-verified paper trail, full-faced ballot, an audio device for voters who have vision-related disabilities, and a sip/puff system for quadriplegic voters.
Advocates told the Times that some machines were difficult to access with a wheelchair, while some lacked Braille screens and others lacked some features that are required by state law.
Hilderbrant said he was pleased with one thing -- the turnout of voters with disabilities.
"I'm glad they had it," he said of the elections board, "but I definitely want the machines to be farther along."
"New voting machines miss mark, disability advocate says" (Finger Lakes Times)