Today I am not discussing politics. I am discussing the process of voting that I experienced as a VIP in Florida. I understand that each state has its’ own procedures and policies (not to mention each country). My goal here is to encourage others to do the research for their area and open up the mind to different beliefs, as I have and you will understand more clearly if you read on.
I have concluded that though I do not use my white cane in daily life, there are certain situations in which I absolutely NEED to. I used to think that I was being deceptive or skirting the system; basically, I believed that if I did not use my cane every day, it was cheating to use it at all. Several situations have changed my mind on this point—I will probably speak to those situations at some point, but not necessary to delineate for this post.
Voting is one of the situations I will ALWAYS use my cane for. Why? Because it tells he volunteers at the precinct that I need accommodations. Otherwise, I must explain everything, and it takes longer and is just unnecessary; take it from me, use your cane and avoid the hassle. It should also be noted that when you register to vote, ask if there is any paperwork that you need to fill out or have your doctor fill out so that you can bring someone to assist you to vote (they will check your ID card to make sure you are allowed assistance).
Alright, now we will go through my step-by-step voting.
- My husband and I arrive at the precinct. He guides me towards the line forming outside the door. He goes straight to the front door because he has been waved over by the volunteer at the door (he tells me that this happened later). The volunteer asks us to stand aside while she tells the proper person we need express voting.
- The volunteer takes us into the building. There is an express voting line at our early voting precinct (like the accessible or stroller line at the airport). There were no other voters in the express line, so we were taken rather quickly.
- Up to this point, I do not realize what express voting is. The dedicated volunteer for the express voting mentions the machine and I panic inside a little bit. “I have never used the machine,” I said, worrying that I have just wasted everybody’s time. Also, I do not want to look stupid. I ask, “Can my husband assist me with a paper ballot?” They are okay with that and let me know that the machine is easy. I think to myself, “I’ve seen the machine. I have tried it once. It confused me and intimidated me. I don’t want to use it!” However, what I say is, “Okay, maybe next time I vote.” Knowing all along that I will not be using that machine.
- My husband and I have been given our ballots and we are taken to the accessible voting station. The volunteer then shows me the machine. To my surprise, the machine has changed in the last 8 years. It looks SO simply. However, at this point my ballot is already printed so I cannot use it. Now I am thinking, “I will use that machine next time!”
- We vote. My husband marks the options I want. Then we move on to the scanner. There were three scanning stations with three separate volunteers. I am only mentioning this because I had an interesting interaction with my volunteer. She told me her name and asked me mine. She then told me that she also volunteers for the app “BE My Eyes”. I have never met a volunteer for that app in real life and it was extremely exciting for both of us. It was also very encouraging, because she mentioned how disappointed she becomes when she does not get to the phone fast enough and someone else is taking the call. I do not know about you, but I will now use this app more readily after finding out how excited the volunteers are to help!
And then we were done. We received our stickers, and then our children then took them from us; good thing there are two of us and two of them!