Registrars Try To Make Voting Easy But There Are Snafus
County registrars are trying to make the voting process as easy as possible in the primary election, but the disabled may encounter problems in some places.
Monday, June 5, 2006
Sacramento County elections manager Brad Buyce has a few tips for voters. First of all, he says, check for your polling place on your sample ballot:
We have consolidated a little bit heavier for this election in a cost saving measure, so your polling place might have changed.
Buyce also says it’s far too late to mail in your absentee ballot, so instead, you should take it directly to a polling place. In Yolo County, there is a problem at the polls. The County did not meet the federal government’s deadline to add devices to allow disabled people to vote unassisted. Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley says it’s because the Secretary of State did not okay the devices she’d purchased.
I feel that this is a huge moral failure on my part not to have prevailed in my desire to accommodate voters with special needs. I think it’s a dreadful, dreadful thing.
Dan Kysor with the California Council of the Blind thinks it’s a dreadful thing too, and blames Oakley for poor planning.
It means that disabled voters, in Yolo County anyway, cannot vote in an independent, private, verifiable manner. I’m visually impaired, so I would have to have somebody read me that ballot and trust that that person’s going to vote the way that I hope that they vote.
The Secretary of State says a handful of Counties did not comply with the Help America Vote Act this election, but are taking other steps to help disabled voters.
Kim Alexander, with the non-partisan CalVoter Foundation says California is doing better than most states:
The Department of Justice is looking at all 50 states, and the fact is, that overall, California is much more compliant with the federal accessibility law than many other states will be for this election.
Polls close at eight this evening. Elections officials urge voters to fill out their sample ballot before heading to the polls. They say it will make the voting experience easier and quicker.