Friday, July 17, 2009

To Vote

I remember voting last November in a fire station 10 minutes away from by home. Back then I did not think about the problems that people can encounter at the polls. This however changed this week when I attended two hearings regarding voting policy.

The first was a public hearing on The Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009. The reason I was there was because one of the changes proposed by the bill was to allow same day registration. Same day registration allows you to register on Election Day and vote. This is the part of the bill that AAPD supports as it increases the accessible of election to people be they disabled or not. The opposition to this amendment was there would be an increased risk of election fraud. Since Washington, DC is between the states of Maryland and Virginia it is argued that people who live in these states could register and vote in DC as well as in their home state. I would think that can be prevented because you need proof of citizenship and residence to register.

The second hearing was about EAC's Accessible Voting Technology Initiative. This Initiative’s goal is to create a voting system that can be used by anyone without additional assistance. Toward the end of the hearing people from disability organizations offered testimony regarding voting accessibility. Two speaks represented two different disability groups for which the design of voting equipment can prevent them from voting without assistance. These groups are the visually impaired and the mobility impaired. Historical these two groups have either required assistance or specialized voting equipment to vote because of the nature of their disabilities.

The challenges such people face eclipse my own. Most people take for granted the devises and facilities they use every day. Many are not aware that there are people whom have difficulty or are unable to use one reason or another. This program has raised my awareness of these challenges. The ADA has done much to make their lives easier but there is still much to be done.

Have a good weekend.

Chad Carson

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