Ballot Marking Devices Help Voters with Disabilities Cast Their Ballots

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

November 02, 2011

As Election Day approaches, Senator Stewart-Cousins is reminding registered New Yorkers to vote. And with the new paper ballot system, the Senator and the Westchester Independent Living Center are raising awareness about the Ballot Marking Device (BMD), which helps voters with disabilities privately and independently cast their ballots.

Ballot Marking Devices are available at all polling places in Westchester County. Here is how they work…

-When you arrive at your polling place, tell the poll worker that you would like to use the Ballot Marking Device

-Insert your paper ballot into the machine

-The BMD will display your choices in enlarged print and you can cast your vote by touching the screen, similar to an ATM machine

-The BMD will not permit you to select more than the allowable number of candidates for a particular position, which prevents you from inadvertently invalidating your vote.

-The BMD will alert you if you skip a race and allow you to go back and vote on that race, or skip it altogether.

-The BMD has headphones available for voters who are visually impaired or prefer to listen to the ballot.

-The BMD has a handheld controller and a sip and puff device for voters who are mobility impaired.

-Use of the BMD is not limited to voters with disabilities.

Poll workers at each polling place are trained to help you use the BMD. Please remember to go vote on November 8th.