Voting and accessibility (it’s that time again)
It’s time again for United States citizens to begin pondering their stance on the upcoming midterm elections. While we won’t be deciding on the president, we will be electing many local and state governing representatives. Since I launched Blind Travels, I have always made it a point to report on the importance of voting in every election. It may be easy to dismiss the midterm elections as something which is not as important as the big presidential election every four years, however these electoral cycles can directly affect you more than you think.
Your voice matters
I always spend a lot of my time staying out of the lane of politics. There have never been any political pieces here on the blog, I feel it important to maintain a neutral heading when it comes to the crazy world of politics. However, regardless of the reasons for your interest in this article, one point stands head and shoulders above the rest regardless of your political affiliation, and that is your voice and your vote matter. One may never know when an elected official will propose or enact a change that adversely affects you, this is especially true for blind and low vision individuals.
Do your research
Regardless of the side of the aisle you choose to vote on, it is always worth you time as a visually impaired person to research new accessibility and accommodations for blind voters. Now is the perfect time for this, just type in accessibility for blind or visually impaired voters and your state into Google. Here in Colorado, I learned that SB21-188, Ballot Access For Voters With Disabilities allows a voter with a disability to use an electronic voting device that produces a paper record to vote in a mail ballot election. This is great and all, but if I can’t read the screen to make my choice, a piece of paper I can’t read isn’t going to do much more for me. Considering the needs of disabled voters is a step in the right direction, in terms of accessibility, but still does not resolve the biggest issue that most of us with vision loss have with voting and that is being able to read the ballot options.
Every two years during midterms, there are a ton of articles posted about making the voting system more accessible for vision impaired users, and every four years with the higher profile presidential elections, these cries seem to intensify. For many of us, we enter the polling station, and someone there is required to read the choices to us and enter our desired option. There is a lot of trust imparted on this way of doing things, the person voting relies on the one reading and marking to honor their choice. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people working at the polling stations are unreliable or unethical, I am only saying that the voting system needs to be overhauled so that people with vision impairments can read and choose for themselves. Given the current political climate I strongly believe that it is safer for all to be able to make the choices in private and not have to endure comments because of my choice of candidate.
It is too late (again) for municipalities and states to make changes to their voting system, so can’t we all get started on fixing this system, and making it accessible for all voters before the 2024 election?
How is voting handled in your state? Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable when voting? Let’s talk about it! Get in touch with me on my social media links below!