What It's Like for Me to Vote With Low Vision

I did it. I voted yesterday and I’m so glad I did. I was doing my chores this morning while thinking about what to write about regarding my low vision. It takes some thought because I have lived with it all my life. How I approach situations and cope is not anything new for me. I realized suddenly that yesterday I was faced with a challenge that is worthy of writing about. I voted.

Many people vote. It’s not about who I voted for or what policies I support. It’s how I voted. A sighted person would walk in, stand in line, be directed to a booth, vote, and leave. It isn’t so simple for me. My husband and I walked into the voting precinct yesterday and there were logistics I needed to think through. The line was fairly long and the room beyond the line was a blur to me. I knew there was a table to the left of the front of the line. I did not know until I was up in front whether there were one or two people manning the table.

The first thing I did was ask my husband to get behind me so he could tell me when it was my turn to approach the table. As we waited in line, I heard a man at the table asking each person whether they were voting Democrat or Republican. This made me uncomfortable because voting is a personal and private thing for me. I don’t want to share my views
with strangers.

When my husband told me it was my turn, I walked over to the table and saw there were two people manning it. The man asked me, “Democrat or Republican?” I answered and he told me booth #2. Um, OK. Booth two. He must have realized I could not see well and told me the man behind me could help me. He led the way.

I opened the curtain and noticed there was an electronic type of contraption for casting my vote. Can you say panic? I knew I was not going to be able to pull this off alone. I had my magnifying glasses, but the setup meant my boobs would be hitting buttons whether I
liked it or not if I tried to read the screen that way. That wasn’t going to work. I asked the helper if I could get my husband to help me out. He said sure, but my husband was already in a booth somewhere in the room.
I reluctantly turned to the stranger and asked him to help me. He agreed. I believe he was just as uncomfortable as I was, so he went down the list of candidates and policies for me and entered whichever I chose. I hope. He was very nice. Once voting was done, he asked me if I could find the door. But of course! Thank you and goodbye.
Large tree with American flag flying in the background.
Large tree with American flag flying in the background.

I walked out and found my husband just outside the door. We walked away talking about the ballot and politics. You know, the important stuff. I am not writing about this particular point of my day for sympathy. It’s just an observance of something I normally don’t consider to be different or out of the ordinary, but when I sit and think about it, it would be for most.

Lucky for me, I had a camera to capture the big strange tree pictured. I could come home and look at it up close on the computer and see the American flag that I did not see when I took it. Life is good.

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Thinkstock photo by Iceman J.


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