New system allows visually impaired to vote without help

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams and State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing announce a partnership with VotingWorks to allow voters who are blind or visually impaired, or have a print disability, to vote by absentee ballot without assistance in this year’s general election.

This will allow those voters to vote privately and independently, something they could not previously do.

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In order to use the service, the voter needs to contact her county clerk and ask for an ‘accessible ballot’ by October 9.

The clerk’s office will send the ballot electronically and will separately send an envelope which will contain two envelopes.

Once received electronically, the voter will be able to fill out the ballot itself using whichever screen reader or software the voter uses. The two inner envelopes will be used to mail the ballot back to the county clerk’s office.

Each of those envelopes require the voter’s signature with holes punched on either sides of the signature lines so the voter can tactically find the place to sign.

“I’m proud that we’ve made it easy to vote and hard to cheat, with special attention toward our visually impaired voters. It’s never been easier to vote in Kentucky history than it is right now,” said Secretary Adams. As of today, some 588,000 Kentuckians have applied for a ballot online.

Jayne Seif, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky, noted, “The National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky is very proud of the collective work that has been done by Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, The Secretary of State, the Kentucky Board of Elections and the American Council of the Blind with regard to securing an accessible absentee ballot to be used in this November’s election. Our state has been a forerunner with regard to accessible in person voting for persons who are blind and print impaired and we are happy that this will continue as absentee voting becomes more prevalent during the pandemic.”

VotingWorks is a non-partisan non-profit organization that seeks to build “a secure, affordable and simple voting system,” including helping to provide Accessible Vote-by-Mail (AVBM).