Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Minn. Secretary of State on Secret Ballots for People with Disabilities

In this column today, Minnesota's (Republican) Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, made the following remarks:

Perhaps the greatest personal inequality is experienced by voters with disabilities. For many voters with disabilities, voting privately and independently is only a dream. Few of us can know what it's like to be blind and to have to tell someone else aloud how we want to vote and trust that our vote is being cast the way we want. Few of us can know what it's like to be disabled and therefore unable to mark a ballot independently. Few of us can know, either, when we'll be in that situation, temporarily or permanently.

With technological advances that have been made in recent years, old excuses for treating voters with disabilities differently are no longer valid. The interface between most of us and our ballots always will be a simple pen. With new technologies, people with disabilities now can have what effectively amounts to a sophisticated "pen" to mark their ballots privately and independently, too. The new technologies really are quite marvelous — they preserve the standard paper ballot that we all want to keep, and they give everyone privacy, independence and accuracy.


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