The mission of Duval County’s Supervisor of Elections is to,”Convey the voice of the people providing fair, accurate, and accessible elections with transparency and integrity.”
Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland has worked hard to make voting accessible for everyone.
In light of today’s primaries, we talked to Daniel W. O’Connor, Senior Rehabilitation Specialist-Blind, of the Division of Blind Services about voting accessibility for persons with a disability.
Christina Graw: Voting is very important when it comes to staying civically involved. How has the City of Jacksonville made voting more accessible?
Daniel O’Connor: That’s a great question. There are a few different ways a person with a disability can vote. First, there’s always the absentee ballot.
But, if a person wants to vote on site it’s simple. All they must do is request assistance at the polling place with a ballot to be read or filled out.
Lastly, there’s also the option of using an accessible voting machine called the Automark that uses the same ballot that is inserted at what would seem like a computer with a monitor displaying the ballot, although an individual can choose to have a blank screen for privacy. It is really easy to hear each race, as well as any amendments using a keypad that is the same as the numbers on a phone that also act as arrows, with a select button. It will not allow a person to over vote for more than one person in a race. It also allows you to review the whole ballot before accepting it as a finished ballot. A person uses headphones for this. This is also good for people with learning disabilities or difficulty for whatever reason reading printed material.
CG: That’s great, so it sounds like there are a few options available for people to vote.
DC: For sure. People can also call 630.6000 to hear a sample ballot for review before voting, to help them make a decision ahead of time.
CG: That’s a great service. Is there anything else people should remember before voting?
DC: If people do vote by absentee it is good to have their signature updated every few years since our signature can change and they can disqualify a ballot if the signature on the ballot that is sent in does not match what is on file.
CG: I also remember speaking with a representative from the Supervisor of Elections Office saying that Braille is available, along with all the sites being wheel chair accessible.
You can also visit the website of www.duvalelections.com for more details, or contact the Supervisor of Elections office at 630-1414.