Voters with Disabilities Deserve the Opportunity to Vote Privately
The inadequacies of the nation's polling methods have been well known to millions of blind and visually impaired Americans. With precious few exceptions, blind or visually impaired voters have had to rely on the assistance of another person, often a total stranger, to cast their votes because ballots and voting equipment have not been made accessible to them. Voters with disabilities must share in the opportunity, enjoyed by all non-disabled Americans, to vote privately and independently. Newly available technologies and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 are helping to make this goal achievable.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) provides funds for state and local government units to replace outdated punch card systems with more advanced machines. In order to receive the funds, states and local government units must develop a plan to upgrade their voting systems. The plans must include one voting machine which is accessible to disabled voters in each polling place. In addition, the funds may be used to make voting places themselves accessible to persons with disabilities.