[Greater-Baltimore] FW: Voting Machine Alert
Blake, Lou Ann
LBlake at nfb.org
Mon Apr 18 19:13:34 UTC 2016
Please see the below message from Maryland Disability Law Center. Don't forget to complete our short survey after you vote. The survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZGFL99W
>From the MD Disability Law Center
MD Alliance members and friends:
Important information from MDLC to share with constituents-
Now that we have moved to the availability of voting using a pre-printed paper ballot, Maryland Disability Law Center has been fighting the state over the use or underuse of the accessible ballot marking device (BMD), which marks the ballot electronically and then prints it to then be scanned. The BMDs use a ballot that is different in size and shape as compared to the pre-printed paper ballot. The Attorney General's Office has therefore stated that we need voters with and without disabilities to use the BMD to protect the privacy of the disability vote. However, some candidates do not like the machines for a number of reasons and the State Board of Elections has severely limited their use. Election judges have supposedly been instructed that anyone can ask to use the BMD, but they have also be instructed not to tell voters that the BMD is available, unless the voter has a "visible disability."
Recent reports from voters have shown the difficulties and barriers that voters are facing in accessing the BMD.
One voter was asked if she "has a disability." Another was told that those machines are only for the "handicapped" or for voters with disabilities. One of these voters was also told that the "handicapped machine" is only for an audio ballot (which is not true). That person was so frustrated by the push back that she ended up voting using the pre-printed paper ballot.
But voters should not have to fight or argue to use the BMD. It shouldn't be that hard.
What can you do?
1) Ask to use the Ballot Marking Device? If you get pushback, advise the election judge that anyone can use the BMD. As one voter stated to the election judge, "how do you know I don't have a disability?" That seemed sufficient to quiet the election judge.
2) Let me know where you voted and report your experience.
3) Also, please look to see if the attached signage was posted anywhere that lets voters know about the accessible ballot marking machine.
Thanks and happy voting!
Alyssa R. Fieo
Director of Legal Advocacy
Maryland Disability Law Center
1500 Union Avenue, Suite 2000
Baltimore, MD 21211
Email: alyssaf at mdlclaw.org<mailto:alyssaf at mdlclaw.org>
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