Chelsea to use voting system for disabled

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2008

By AMY GORDON / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – The city of Chelsea will provide a voting machine for the disabled in this fall’s elections. The machine will allow any disabled person to vote without outside assistance, said Adam Thompson, state director for the Help America Vote Act.

“Primarily, it helps those with visual impairments or motor impairments, but any voter can use it,” he said.

For the visually impaired, the machine will allow voters to listen to their candidate options and then make choices through the use of a Braille keypad.

Voters with limited hand dexterity can use a special device that reads pressure to pick out the voter’s choice. Paralyzed voters can breathe on a special attachment to make their choices, Thompson said.

Chelsea City Clerk Becky Landers said city officials wanted to make the machine available for any disabled voters that might come to the elections.

“We may have only one voter that has a disability, but just in case we do, we want to have this machine,” she said.

Landers said there have been no complaints in the past about not having such a system available, but officials are trying to do what they can to best serve the city.

Chelsea is borrowing the machine from Shelby County. The machine will be delivered to the city right before the elections, Landers said.

She said the machine is a help to the city because it opens up elections to all voters, regardless of ability.

“If somebody has a disability, there’s no reason they can’t vote,” she said. “We want to be sure that everybody’s got a chance to vote.