2019 Elections

New Election Technology Makes Voting Easier for People with Disabilities

By Brandon Moore, BDJ 364.03

Published on November 5, 2019
Picture of a white sign, with black letters.

The Election Day Polling Place sign located outside of the polls at Erwin United Methodist Church.

https://soundcloud.com/user779134483/dia-election-story

Brandon Moore NCC News

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(***TRACK 1***) (Brandon Moore 1:10)

THOUSANDS OF VOTERS ARE FLOCKING VARIOUS VOTING SITES IN ONONDAGA COUNTY AS THE ELECTION DAY COMES TO A FINISH.

LISA FITZGERALD, A VOTING MACHINE SPECIALTIST AT CICERO’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, SAYS THAT AN INCREASE IN REGISTERED VOTERS COULD BE A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS THAT SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

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[TAKE SOT
NAME: Tina Fitzgerald
DURATION: 0’20”]
(…” people who are blind or people who have an inability to read or maybe don’t have dexterity in their hands they can use the ballot marking device and the headphones to hear the ballot be read for them and all they have to do is push a button and it marks it appropriately for them …”)

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ACCORDING TO FITZGERALD, THE CITY OF SYRACUSE IS SEEING A MAJOR INCREASE IN VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES.

FITZGERALD, WHO HAS WORKED AT VARIOUS VOTING SITES FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS, SAYS THAT NEW TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE TO HAVE MORE PRIVACY WHEN VOTING.

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[TAKE SOT
NAME: Tina Fitzgerald
DURATION: 0’12”]
(“…. My biggest problem is I always had to have someone come into the booth with me because I could not reach the lever at the top and that makes my vote not so private and just because you need some assistance we should do the best we can to keep a person’s vote private…”)

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ALL VOTES WILL BE FINALIZED AT NINE P-M TONIGHT.

SYRACUSE, N.Y (NCC NEWS)  Thousand of Upstate New Yorkers flocked voting sites today as many officials are running for different offices.

Onondaga County has reported a major increase in registered voters this fall and many are wondering why 2019 is seeing such an increase.

With the changes in voter technology, people with disabilities are having a much easier time at voting sites. The increase in new technology has made voting more accessible and easier for people with various disabilities which could have an impact in the overall voting turnout today.

Tina Fitzgerald, a voting machine specialist at Cicero’s United Methodist Church said, “People who are blind or people who have an inability to read or maybe don’t have dexterity in their hands can use ballot marking devices and headphones to hear the ballot be read for them and all they have to do is push a button and it marks it appropriately for them.”

In the past, people with disabilities may have needed a assistant to come into the booth with them making their votes less confidential.

Fitzgerald also stated, ” My biggest problem is I always had to have someone come into the booth with me because I could not reach the lever at the top and that makes my vote not so private and just because you need some assistance we should do the best we can to keep a person’s vote private.”

According to Fitzgerald, the City of Syracuse is seeing a large increase in the number of voters with disabilities. Voting technology such as the ballot marking device, has shaped how people with disabilities can vote today.

Voting ends today at 9 p.m.