Jan 25, 2010
If you are among the thousands of Oregonians who cannot fill out a paper ballot independently, there are several options still available to you. Julie Anderson, who leads Disability Rights Oregon's Voting Access Project, explains.
Yard-signs. Endless commercials. Door-to-door-canvassers. Yes, it is election time again in Oregon. Tomorrow, January 26th, is election day to vote on Ballot Measures 66 and 67. If you have not yet turned in your ballot do not mail it, because it will not arrive in time to be counted. But it is NOT too late to vote.
If you are among the thousands of Oregonians who cannot fill out a paper ballot independently, there are several options available to you.
Every county now provides your ballot in large print (18 point font), upon request. Or, if you'd like to use your computer to fill out your ballot, you can get your ballot via e-mail or on a CD. The ballots are compatible with accessibility equipment, like screen readers. Of course, you will still need to print out your ballot and return it in the official secrecy and signature envelopes provided to you by the county.
If you do not have a computer, you can go to your county elections office and use an accessible computer station to fill out your ballot. These computers can enlarge the text, read the text (at different speeds and volumes) and have a variety of devices to use, including:
- a custom keypad with large buttons
- a set of switches
- a large roller ball, and
- a joystick.
The computers have a scanner so that after you print out your ballot you can verify that it is marked correctly before you turn it in.
Every county has elections staff that have received training in providing assistance to voters with disabilities. It is best to go as early in the election cycle as possible because the last few days before an election are typically busy and there may be a longer wait.
Also, if you are someone who has difficulty understanding the ballot measures (who doesn't?), there is an Easy Voting Guide (EVG) that DRO helps create. The EVG is non-partisan and simply puts the election information into more accessible language. The EVG is available in large print or audio (CD or mp3 on-line). You can get an EVG by checking out DRO's Voting Access page or by calling Julie Anderson at 1-800-880-1931.