Thursday, March 3, 2016

the automark

Many years ago North Carolina purchased machines that will mark a ballot of voters who are unable to do so. I think they had blind voters in mind when they purchased it, but it also works for voters with limited or no finger dexterity, like my husband. It's called the automark. I love it because it gives him freedom at the polls. He's not dependent on me nor anyone else to mark his ballot for him. It's not widely promoted, but it's available in every single precinct.

Poll workers are often frustrated because people assume it's the tabulator that counts their ballots, so the place where ballots are inserted may be folded up or in the lock position to prevent that from happening over and over and over all day. As I was showing Bobby these pics from the site where I'll be working this next week, he exclaimed "Why is there a chair in front of my voting booth?" It made me laugh. North Carolina does have wheelchair voting booths, and the auto mark table is the perfect height and width for a wheelchair, but it is not the same as a voting booth. The chair is provided for non-wheelchair users who will need to use the machine to mark their ballot, as it does take a little bit of time to use. 

Another feature NC has that I absolutely love, is curbside voting. Voters who are physically unable or find it difficult to go inside and vote can stay in their car and a poll worker will come to them and assist them with paperwork, then stand in line inside in their place, then bring their ballot to the car to be marked. Once a polling place judge or supervisor has placed the ballot in the tabulator, they'll return to the car with the voter's voted sticker. It truly is a blessing for people who need it.

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