Letters: 'Secret ballot' for some citizens
This year, Minnesota is making a giant leap forward for people with disabilities thanks to Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer. For the first time ever, blind voters and others with disabilities, are gaining the right to vote privately and independ...
This year, Minnesota is making a giant leap forward for people with disabilities thanks to Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer. For the first time ever, blind voters and others with disabilities, are gaining the right to vote privately and independently.
New technology in every polling place will allow people with disabilities to vote like everyone else, without having to tell someone else how they want their ballots marked.
All voters will continue to use the usual paper ballot. What's new is that voters will now have three options for marking their ballots: 1) use a pen, 2) have someone else do it for them or 3) use a disability-accessible ballot-marking machine.
At age 14, I lost my eyesight in an accident. Like myself, no one ever knows when something like that could happen to them. In fact, there will be some people who can read this letter today and by the time the November 2006 or 2008 election comes around, they will not be able to read their own ballot because diseases and accidents happen. You might have the need for this technology - either temporarily or permanently - but it is empowering to know it will be there for anyone who wants to use it.
We are getting this technology as a result of legislation passed in Minnesota and funding provided by the US Congress.
Here in Minnesota, Kiffmeyer deserves credit for bringing this equipment to our state in the most common-sense and cost-effective way possible. She also deserves great credit for her outreaching to disability groups to test and gather feedback on the different types of voting equipment. Lastly, Kiffmeyer also deserves credit for making sure our election system serves all voters equally.
Minnesota has been No. 1 in voter turnout for the last three elections and Kiffmeyer is determined to keep us there - this new technology will help. This is an exciting step in our elections and persons with a disability will be able to now have a "secret ballot" for the first time ever because of Kiffmeyer's leadership.
Rep. Torrey Westrom
Dist. 11A - Elbow Lake