A friend from my high school days contacted me about a newstory that she is writing for her journalism class at NYU. Katie is a journalism and politics major, and is writing about access to voting for people with disabilities. I answered her questions and offered to post her questions here so that she could maybe get a few more responses. If you have a disability and can take a few minutes to answer any or all of her questions by noon on Wednesday, October 10, she'd greatly appreciate it.
Two New York Times articles last summer (here and here) addressed the issues and delays of voting machines which allow independent access to voting by those with disabilities.
1. Have you voted (for President, Congress, even school board)?
2. If so, tell me about your experience - did you use a paper ballot or a machine? Did you find the system difficult? Any problems getting to the voting place?
3. If not, why didn't you vote?
4. Do you plan to vote in the 2008 Presidential election?
5. There is a federal law stating that all disabled persons must be able to cast their vote without assistance, because someone helping them might influence their vote. Do you think this is important? Is voting on your own a part of being independent?
6. The new law discussed in the New York Times articles is being debated because experts are worried that the voting machines that are easiest for most disabled people to use may not be totally secure - it is possible that hackers could hack into the system and screw up the votes. So, politicians are trying to balance what is most important - giving the disabled full access to voting or protecting voting security. What do you think?
7. Do you think it is important for every effort to be made to help disabled people vote? Why?
8. What would you think if you found out that the voting machines used to help the disabled were being canceled because of hacking concerns?
9. What would be the easiest way for you to cast a ballot?
10. Do you have any political issues that are especially important to you? What are they and why?
Email your answers to Katie at: firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday at noon. Your thoughts on any of the questions would be appreciated.