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Accessible voting options explained during webinar today

A man in a wheelchair votes using a ballot marking device.
New York State Board of Elections
A voter in a wheelchair uses a ballot marking device in this how-to video from the New York State Board of Elections.

Do you know there is more than one way to vote?

On Wednesday at 9 a.m., a few local disability and voting organizations are hosting a Zoom event to dispel some myths about voting, with a focus on voting access for people with disabilities.

The event will talk about, in part, accessible voting machines, which are supposed to be available at every site and for anyone to use, even if you don’t have a disability.

"My experience recently, I always go and use them," said Sophia Roberts from the Self Advocacy Association of New York State. "And my experience on Saturday, early voting, I did not get to use use the ballot marking device. The machine wouldn't read the ballot. We tried twice. Having my daughter with me, we filled out the ballot together with with the pen.”

Roberts said ballot marking devices can be helpful to anyone.

“I find as a voter in general, it's very helpful," Roberts said. "It reads the ballot to you, it tells you whether you voted fully in the contest, but if you have trouble, you know, tracking all the lines and all of that, it reads it out to you, it tells you if you voted fully in the contest, if you miss something, it can tell you that you missed it. And do you want to go back or not? For the provisions on the back? It would tell you that whether you voted in them or not.”

If these machines aren’t available or working, the Board of Elections will replace or fix them.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.