Machines give voters independence

Published 1:44 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

For the majority of Americans, the ability to cast a vote independently is something that is taken for granted.

But for those who do not have that ability and require assistance, it’s something that is often thought about.

Wanda Scroggins is one of those people.

Scroggins, who casts her ballot in Horn Hill, has been blind for 13 years. Tuesday, she was among those throughout the state to use the AutoMARK voter assist terminals. These terminals, which were made available as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, grant disabled voters the ability to cast their votes in privacy without assistance.

Scroggins has used the machine during the last three elections. She said before the HAVA was passed, a family member had to read the ballot to her and the mark the answers.

“It wasn’t a private experience,” she said.

Thanks to the machine, Scroggins said the experience is not only a private one, it’s also an independent one.

“I love the privilege to cast my private vote as my own civil right,” she said. “It is a privilege. That way when I agree or disagree with what is going on in politics, I feel like I have the right to my opinion, because I cast my vote.”

Scroggins said many people are intimidated by the machine, but she finds it is easy to use.

“There are five buttons you use,” she said. “I find it very easy. I don’t think people realize how easy it really is. It’s really no different than changing the channels.

“The machine reads everything to you. You can pause at anytime. There’s nothing hard about it.”

Scroggins said that if anyone has any questions about using the machine, they may contact her at 428-3335.