The buzz in the disability community for the upcoming elections is the debut of the AutoMARK voting machine. People with disabilities all over the state are extremely excited to have this ballot marking machine available to enable disabled voters to finally have the opportunity to vote independently and privately. As a ballot marking machine, the AutoMARK performs as sort of an “electronic pen.” The ballot is inserted into the machine, and the voter can choose the candidates by either touching the screen of the machine or using the keypad.
The machine has audio instructions to guide the voter through each race. After voting is completed, the Auto- MARK will verify the votes that have been made on the ballot with the voter. After verification, the voter can instruct the AutoMARK to “mark” the ballot by printing it. The ballot is ejected and can then be taken to the ballot counter.
“This is an exciting breakthrough for blind Minnesotans and for other people with disabilities. For the first time, blind people will be able to vote without any assistance from another human being,” said Steve Jacobson, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.
The primary and general elections are approaching quickly. This year, primaries will be held on September 12th and the general election on November 7th. Voters are encouraged to become familiar with AutoMARK before then so that they’ll know what to expect. There will be many opportunities during the coming months to try out the new machine. Most counties will provide demonstrations in their respective government centers. City halls, libraries, various disability organizations and county fairs–and the state fair–are other venues where folks will be able to cast a practice vote on the new device. The Medicaid town hall forums will also provide opportunities for people from all parts of the state to try the new machine.
Where to Go to Test Out the AutoMark Voting Machine in the Coming Months
In Hennepin County demonstrations will be held at service centers, libraries and malls. For more information: HC.Vote@co.hennepin.mn.us, 612-348-5151.
In Ramsey County demonstrations will be held in various facilities including nursing homes, libraries and hi-rises. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-266-2171.
In Anoka County demonstrations will be held in the county government center in Anoka and in each city hall by mid-July. For more information: Elections@co.anoka.mn.us, 763-323-5275.
In Dakota County demonstrations are currently scheduled for the County Fair from August 7th-13th and the Lakeville area council meeting on July 3rd. For more information: email@example.com, 651-438-4380.
In Washington County demonstrations will be held in the county government center in Stillwater and in each city hall by the beginning of August. Demonstrations also are scheduled for the Washington County Fair on Saturday, August 5th. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-430-6175.
At Medicaid Town Hall Forums.
At Office of the Secretary of State events planned throughout the state this summer with the AutoMark.
Form more information: go to www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp and click on About the Office/News/Voter Outreach and Education. At this Web site you can also recommend an event for an AutoMark demonstration.