Mixed Results Over Accessible Voting
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 8, 2006
UNITED STATES--Regardless of your political leanings, for an estimated 10 percent of American voters -- those with disabilities -- Tuesday's mid-term election brought both good news and bad news.
The good news is that an untold number of citizens were able to cast a private ballot for the first time because of new accessible voting technology.
"The best. The absolute best," New Yorker Leslie Underwood, who is blind, told WNYT of her voting experience. "It doesn't get any better than when you can do it by yourself. Its the best."
The bad news is that many still were not able to exercise their right to a confidential vote because of glitches with voting machines, lack of training of election staff, and inaccessible polling places.
The federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 required polling facilities and voting systems to be accessible in time for this election.
A special HAVA hotline, that was set up by the National Federation of the Blind, fielded 140 calls Tuesday, most complaining about problems with polling sites in their precincts. The highest number of complaints reportedly came from Massachusetts and New York, which still have a long way to go to comply with the federal law.
"It is unconscionable that four years after passage of the Help America Vote Act, some jurisdictions have simply not complied with the law," said Jim Gashel, NFB Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives.
"Hundreds of Thousands Vote for First Time Independently and in Private" (National Federation of the Blind)
"Touch Screen Voting Machines Make it Easier for All Idahoans to Vote" (New West Network)
"Machine's help the blind cast their votes" (WNYT)
"Election Day voting steady" (Albany Times-Union)
"State Rolls Out New Voting Machines" (New Hampshire Public Radio)
"Secret ballot available to more voters" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"Disabled faced glitches" (Newsday)