[NFBWATlk] For tomorrow's discussion on voting

Jim Portillo portillo.jim at gmail.com
Sat Aug 15 03:03:36 UTC 2020

Hello again,


Marci will be discussing some things regarding voting and elections during
tomorrow's Seattle chapter meeting.  Part of what will be mentioned dealt
with an issue Corey Grandstaff recently encountered.

It would be good if those attending the meeting could read this in advance
and come prepared with questions.  It's a fairly long post, which is why
we're encouraging you to read it for yourselves.



>From Corey:

Long post warning. I normally am not a person who complains on social media
or uses social media as a platform to call out entities who do not treat me
fairly as a blind person: however, with the controversy over mail in
ballots, I have to tell my most recent voting story. Washington has been
doing mail in ballots as long as I can remember since I moved here in 2012.
Now I trust my wife, but in previous elections, I have two options: allow
her or another person to mark my mail-in ballot or go to the elections
office by appointment only to vote using an accessible voting machine.
Having someone else mark my ballot is not private voting and with concerns
of contracting covid, I sure don't want to have to go to the election
office. Needless to say, I was excited when I heard there was an online
voting option. The actual online ballot was accessible, that was a plus. But
the process to submit the ballot was not. The process is this: print out the
ballot, fill out a secrecy cover sheet and a declaration and signature
sheet, cut out something from an envelope cut-out sheet, tape it onto a
regular envelope, figure out where the signature line is for the envelope,
and then buy postage to mail in my ballot. Here are my issues: as a blind
voter I should not have to do anything extra than my sighted counterparts:
fill out the ballot, sign the envelope, put in the envelope, and mail it for
free. Now I can afford a stamp no problem, but if my sighted voters don't
have to pay, neither should I. And we have not even discussed the
interactions I have had with the Clark County Elections Office, one of which
went something like this: me, "I would like to speak with the person who
handles accessible online voting for blind people," the representative, "oh
you're blind, your only option is to come to our office and vote by
appointment only," me, "Actually that is not true, there is accessible
online voting available for people who are blind which is why I would like
to talk to the person who handles online accessible voting," representative,
"well sir, I don't think you know what you are talking about however I will
transfer you." Hello, I am the blind person in the situation I think I know
if I have the option to vote online or not. When I did finally get to talk
to the accessible voting coordinator, I was told I have two options to mail
in the marked ballot I completed online: mail it in using the process as
described earlier with cutting out the envelope or choose not to follow the
process and mail my online ballot in as my sighted counterparts do. However,
if I choose the second option my ballot will be flagged as it has to be
processed separately by hand and in the exact words of this accessibility
coordinator , "this means it may sit on someone's desk until they have time
to hand process your ballot." So not only may my ballot not get counted, it
may be lost, or not processed at all. When I asked can I go online to make
sure it was processed, the response was: "well we are finding a glitch in
the system where if you check to make sure your ballot was processed, it may
delete your already processed ballot." I don't understand, I can pay my
bills online, I can do any banking I want online, I can manage my
investments and retirement benefits online, I can shop online, and now I can
fill out the ballot online, but I can't submit it online because it is to
"insecure." Now I believe in voting, but if I can do all these other things
online and these companies have figured out how to handle these security
issues, the elections department can't, I don't understand. And mine is just
one experience, whether its online voting or mail-in ballots, it should be
accessible to all. This means finding a solution so I can find the signature
line on my ballot envelope (hey Oregon figured it out, a hole punched at
each end of the signature line), not having to do separate forms or pay for
my ballot to be mailed in a separate envelope, having my ballot processed at
the same rate and in the same way as my sighted counterparts have there's,
and oh yeah, having election officials who actually know what they are
talking about when they receive a call from a blind person who wants to vote
in a private and accessible fashion. Wait, one more thing, lets make it even
easier, allow everyone to vote online, submit online, and then it would also
be easier to count online. Really you can't figure out the security issues.
That's bullshit, its just another example of putting up obstacles to
allowing people to vote privately and safely from their homes.


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