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Blind Voter Encounters Difficulting Casting Ballot  (MO)

OzarksFirst.Com     05 August 2008

(Springfield, MO) Voting is something many people take for granted.  It's also something most of us do with ease.
But one voter in Greene County says she has trouble every time she votes.

Melita Waters (right) has lived in Greene County for over three years. And she says ever since then she's had trouble voting.

Waters is blind and uses a guide dog and a helper to get around town. And when it comes to voting she says she wants to exercise her rights.

But everytime she tries, she says, the disabled machines are broken, or she has to wait a long time for a person to be made available to assist her in the booth. "There are laws that tell me that say I should vote independently and every place is mandated to have situations or equipment so I can and they may have equipment but it doesn't work properly."

Since Waters is blind she says she mainly votes by audio and today she says she didn't get any audio or if she did it was crackling but in the end she did get to cast her vote.

Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff says he was aware of some problems today, but he says they were fixed in a reasonable amount of time. "You can either wait for someone to fix or replace it, again, that happened within 30 minutes of the problem. Or we have other voting systems available. As a matter of fact, most voters who have disabilities who do use the touchscreen voting would rather use optical scan or use that with assistance."

Struckhoff says since the touch screen machines are used for people with a variety of disabilities what may have happened was a certain function on the machine was removed to accommodate another person.  They have to bring in a mechanic to figure out why the machine is malfunctioning.

Struckhoff says each machine is tested and he is not sure why a few of them didn't work. But he says possibly in transit they got bumped or a cord came lose. But he says the machines were fixed or replaced in a reasonable amount of time.

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