Leon Co. launching new vote by mail system for disabled community

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, in partnership with the Lighthouse of the Big Bend, is launching the “Enhanced Ballot” system to improve the accessibility of voting by mail for the disabled community.

Voters can sign up now on the supervisor of elections’ office. When the early voting period opens, voters will be able to download their ballot and mark it on their computer, or print it out and mark it manually.

Mark Earley, supervisor of elections in Leon County, said that using their own technology, voters can interact with the new system. “It will read the ballot to them and they can make choices and it will indicate the choices on a piece of paper that they can then print out,” Earley said.

The new vote by mail system will allow those with a disability to mark their ballots without the assistance of another person.

Earley said those that sign up will receive a vote by mail ballot envelope, that is marked with a signature line for those visually impaired. He said this voting system is very similar to the system used for military or overseas voters.

Earley said the enhanced ballots will go into effect in early July and will be up and running by the Aug. 23 primary.

JR Harding, a disability advocate and former vice chair of Florida’s Americans with Disabilities Act working group said he’s in favor of this style of secured voting.

“Those are choices that I think make good sense and choices that the disability community will accept and find welcoming,” Harding said.

Harding said the reconfiguration of the absentee ballot system should prove successful.

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