Man voting with an accessible voting machine
Yesterday was Election Day, the day that we all head to the polls to cast our ballot for our chosen candidates for the many races impacting our lives. By all, I mean a decent amount of the population, especially during a non-presidential voting year. I can't tell you the pride and joy that I get out of being able to vote. It is not even just voting; it is that I was able to go to my polling location and ask to use the accessible polling option. Then, crazy thing, I was able to access the ballot and vote without the assistance of another individual. What a concept—to want to vote without having to trust another individual to cast your vote.
I live in the beautiful town of Huntington, West Virginia, and I had this access. If you don't have access in your polling area, it is time to stand up and make a fuss. We all deserve to have the right to vote independently. People who are blind or visually impaired put up with a lot of inaccessibility, from accessing all kinds of information presented only in a visual manner. Look at all of the inaccessible touch screens in stores, airports, and even at airport bars. If I want a burger, fries, and a beverage, I want to be able to order it on my own. Consider the fact that some of these businesses with touch-screen devices are using devices with built-in accessibility, but they lock you out from accessing that accessibility. I find that so ironic and frustrating—taking a device that could be accessible and locking it so it isn't.
So, my thanks to Huntington, West Virginia, and in the past, to Tallahassee, Florida, for providing me with an accessible voting experience. I know I shouldn't be thankful, but every time I go, I wonder if it will work correctly this time. Do most people wonder if the voting machine will work properly? I know in some places they wonder if the booths will disappear prior to tabulation, but that is a whole different (horrible) story.
AFB Tech has worked with a lot of the companies who manufacture these polling devices on creating access for people who are blind or visually impaired. The AFB Consulting team and the AccessWorld online technology magazine make a difference for us. I want to thank them for their work in creating accessibility so that my vote counts.
You can also visit AFB's Voting Policy page from our Public Policy Center, which advocated for the Help America Vote Act. Demand access to the process—we have to be a part of it to make change.