Philadelphia Shows Off Its Blind-Friendly Voting Machines

By Mike DeNardo
Published April 10th 2008 in Philadelphia all news radio station KYW 1060
With the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary approaching, city officials in Philadelphia took time on Thursday to demonstrate new voting machines that accomodate the visually-impaired.

With 46,000 new voters registered for the primary, the city is making sure the public knows that new computerized machines are equipped with devices to help the visually-impaired.  Here's deputy city commissioner Fred Voigt:
"Every polling place, according to law, is required to have the capability for a sight-impaired person to independently -- that is, without help -- vote."
Blind voters are given an audio headset and a wallet-sized keypad to navigate through the ballot and record their choices.

Voigt says it can take up to 20 minutes to complete the process. He recommends that all voters familiarize themselves with the ballot before they enter the booth.

In last November's general election, Voigt says, 17 people used the visual-assistance device to vote.