Five Counties Test Electronic Mail-In Ballots For Blind Voters
Blind Floridians in at least five counties will have the chance to fill out their vote by mail ballots online for the general election in November. The Omni Ballot System allows blind voters to cast their mail ballot independently. Whereas before, they would need someone's help. Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles says this new alternative is getting mixed reviews.
"Some [blind voters] have called and have been very adamant, 'I want my paper ballot. Don't send me the electronic.' Others have said, 'I love my express vote. I'll go to the polls. I'll go to early voting,' and use that, and others say, 'you know, I have assistance, and I can take care of my own voting with my assistance,'" Cowles says.
Blind voters will still need to mail their electronic ballot or drop it off in-person. Cowles says he still wants to send blind voters a backup mail ballot if the electronic system fails. Supervisors are still working out some kinks when signing people up for an e-ballot.
"There are voters who have already got their vote by mail request out there. So, our concern is, of course, putting the voter into the system and not having it show up as a duplicate request or second request for that voter," Cowles says.
Orange, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Volusia, and Nassau counties are participating in a pilot to test the Omni Ballot System. Those counties will offer e-ballots during the general election in November. Other counties have the option but aren't required to provide blind voters with e-ballots.