Letter: Kiffmeyer and Voting Machines Deserve Praise

Letter: Kiffmeyer and Voting Machines Deserve Praise

By Andy Virden

(Editor’s Note:  Andy Virden is the president of our Central Minnesota chapter.  This letter was published in the St. Cloud Times on January 10, 2007.)

In reviewing events of 2006 in preparation for the annual fund-raiser for the Central Minnesota chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, I found that one thing last year was a real accomplishment: the use of new voting machines as required under the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

With these machines, the disabled population for the first time was able to vote with our privacy completely protected.

The National Federation of the Blind and its chapters throughout the nation were strong supporters of this equipment.  These machines talk to you and have large screens for low-vision people.  Also, they have to be arranged and equipped so that most people in wheelchairs can use them.

At the Federation's national conventions a number of members tried these machines before they were officially marketed.  The final products are good.

In Minnesota, we are using a machine called the AutoMARK.  It does have a paper trail, which was a concern to some people.  I think it is good.

Former Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer must be commended.  She took a strong interest in the project and appeared at training sessions and in the media to promote the project.

If a voter has trouble using the machines, contact your county auditor or the secretary of state's office.  And, if a voter wishes, you still can use the older way of voting.  Personally, I would try the machines.