Access to Voting Machines for those who are deaf or deaf blind
By Robert S. Menchel ~ Posted Sun, 02/24/2008 - 4:13pm
It seems that the Monroe County Board of Election is insensitive to the needs of the more than 90,000 deaf and hard of hearing people in this area. My experience at a demonstration of the new voting machines was nothing but negative and left me with the feeling that the Board of Election does not understand our needs. This also made me fear that many people who are deaf or deaf blind will not participate in the election in November.
I was invited to see a demonstration of the new voting machines at the Medley Center on January 31 along with Dean DeRusso from CDR. When I got there I went over to the area where the new machines were being demonstrated and looked around for an interpreter. Not seeing one I signed "where is the interpreter" by signing above the heads of people in front of me. When there was no response I spoke up and said "Where is the interpreter for the deaf." The person from the Board of Election looked at me and said " There are no interpreters, stop bothering me I have to demonstrate this machine!". I said "I am deaf and this was a demonstration for those with disabilities so where is the interpreter for me." He brushed me off and told me to go away. I spoke to another member of the Board of Election there and he said " There will be another time for you" I wasted my time going there, I do not know how the machines work, they will not work with deaf people because there are audio instructions, they will not work for deaf blind people , they will not work for deaf or deaf blind people who use wheelchairs. Our access to vote in the upcoming election is in danger of being wiped out.