Voting: Deaf or Disabled?

Amy Cohen Efron shares her personal experience about voting in Georgia.

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Georgia has advanced voting process which allows people to vote one week before the election. There were long lines (I mean, LONG!) at voting places and I decided to be brave and stick it out last Wednesday night.

When I was standing on the line, I saw several postings which says:

Between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., voters who are 75 years of age or older or who are physically disabled may, upon request to a poll officer, vote immediately without waiting in line.

It was after 6 p.m, I was thinking…

“Am I physically disabled to vote immediately without waiting in line?”

I decided that I am not physically disabled, and I know that I am capable to stand in line and wait just like anyone else. Just because I am Deaf, not physically disabled.

I am proud that I stood in line for approximately 2 hours to vote! I’ll never forget this experience.

Best,
Amy Cohen Efron

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20 comments on “Voting: Deaf or Disabled?

Amy!!

I stood in line for approximately 2 hours too! And I had butterflies in my tummy when i voted.

Yay, America!

Ben

In Minnesota, we can only do the absentee ballot if we meet certain criteria. One of them is being disabled, taking advantage of this, I’ve voted by absentee ballot for several years. Yesterday was the second time I’ve ever voted on election day.

Heck no. I ain’t disabled. I stood in line for about 30 minutes, then voted!

Hi Amy, I would feel the same way if I was in your shoes. I dislike to be considered being disabled. Fortenately, I reside in the village which is rather called than “city” because it is so small (I mean it is too small to have a city). I was in the line for only 20 minutes and overall, it took me only 30 minutes. I used to live in Metro Atlanta for years. I remember well to be in a line to vote. It would take me forever but after voting, I felt proud and worthy it. I am proud to be witness this historic victory last night!

It took me and my son just half an hour or less of waiting, and it was because we lived in a relatively rural area.

Two hours seems a bit much, so perhaps sending a note to the Board of Elections that they need to rethink their system could be in order. They want to encourage people to come out and vote, not to make things harder for them.

Yeah, I brought my kids along, we stood in the line for almost a hour, I saw a sign that was for elderly people, it didn’t say anything about disabled people.

It would have been nice if there was a sign language interpreter, however a man knew a little bit sign language, he explained briefly to me what to do.

I definitely feel that we need better accessibility for deaf voters (providing interpreters) but not in the line. Where is our accessibility? If they are willing to provide services for elderly and physically disabled but not the rest of the disabled people like visual impaired, deaf or whatever, then something is definitely wrong here.

I find hard to believe when a sign says, “75 years old or older or physically disabled”, that a deaf person would go to the head of the line and I would be even more disgusted if the polling place workers allowed it.

in oregon we have mail ballots so we dont have to go out and wait in the line to vote. i like mail ballots because I can research for more information before i vote at my leisure time. One negative… it is easy to forget to mail it or drop it at a public ballot box. It did happen to me before oops… not this time tho.

Amy,

You brought up the good topic how we identify ourselves as “deaf” or “physically disabled”.

No questions about many of us do not consider ourselves fully disabled or disabled in any way.

Sadly, the definition of physical definition is very vague and non-specific in general.

I stood in the line, instead of letting the poll worker to dispatch me to the front of the line. That only took me about 20 minutes. I wanted to give the impression to the general public that the deaf people do not look for any kind of preferential treatment for faster service or whatever it is.

I did give an advice to one of the DR reader if she found herself in the long line. That person had much right for such an option if someone request for such an immediate access.

That’s what I was previously trained as a poll worker for two consecutive elections. The poll workers had no right to determine or decide whether someone is disabled or not.

Yes, some people abuse that kind of disabled definition.

I am physically disabled in some ways from last year’s auto accident. I couldn’t stand much longer, but I did stood in the line last two weeks ago with some physical pain. Thank God, appx. 20 minutes waiting time with free sodas and snacks being provided by the nearby bank inside the government building for interested voters.

RLM

Boy, Amy, you didn’t read the sign clearly. It says “Physically disabled” which mean wheelchair, crutches etc. You are normally disabled and have two legs to stand and wait in the line. Check this out: http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/what-are-disabilities.shtml

I am sure you voted for McCain because he talk all negative and have a large ego just like you do to attack on organizations or deaf community role models.

Bob

In the past, I stood proudly on the lines, refusing to take the disability short cut. Since I was physically able, I waited for hours.

I did use the disability route one time when I was very sick. That day I wasn’t able to stand up for long, but dang it, I was going to vote. I’ve never missed a presidential election and I wasn’t going to miss it.

This time I used the absentee vote ballot as I was unable to go to the ballot place. My husband did and he stood in the line for two hours. His attitude is the same as me. He is able, though he cannot hear, so why would he cut the line short?

Deaf Mommy, that has been a long standing serious problem. Too often the voting sites are not accessible. Many blind people complain about the voting booth not being accessible. Some of the voting places don’t have ramps available for the physically disabled.

I suggest you file a complaint with the county election office regarding the lack of accessibility. In fact, I encourage others to do that, too. We need to be heard, no longer the invisible minority.

This is to response to Bob Smith,

I know very well what is the definition of physically disabled. I don’t take an advantage of my deafness to use this opportunity to get ahead of the line. I am Deaf and I am capable.

I am very proud that I stood in line for two hours to vote just like any other able-bodied people. I am capable to stand in line and walk for two hours to vote.

It is very interesting that you made an assumption that I vote for McCain…

Unfortunately, you are incorrect.

I am a life-long Democrat and I am very proud that my vote counts!

Thank you for visiting my blog/vlog and leaving a comment.

Amy Cohen Efron

Bob Smith, foot in mouth for lunch? Lol…anyway, went to that link you provided and was aghast at the definition of hearing impairment there!

Proud to vote on Vote Day. I just walked in and voted then left in few minutes. No line at all. They are very good organized. Also they give free food away for thank you to vote. Nice.

I had voted four weeks in advance and the line was already relatively long- took me 70 minutes. Even if it was going to take me 8 hours as it did for the unfortunate ones who picked other days in Georgia, I most definitely would have stayed in the line (after paging my folks to bring me a foldable chair and some food). This is the most important election of my life thus far, I was not going to cheapen the experience by taking the easy way out. There was nothing wrong with my legs that day. I was not sick that day. My mind was functioning well that day. My ancestors went through worse just to cast their vote, who was I to complain. It was not easy standing in the line, nobody likes waiting in lines, but we all stayed, and we came out feeling mightly proud.

I asked around with my deaf peers about whether they stood in the line or if they went ahead to the front- the finding was interesting. Most females waited in the line, said the idea of taking advantage of the line waiver was tempting since we’re humans, but still felt it to be morally wrong- as if they’d be sending the wrong message about deaf people in general. Some just felt that going to the front would be telling themselves that they are weak or something.

Those who opted to go to the front were mostly males under 40, and tended to be out of touch with current deaf issues. I am not sure if gender as in the male mind being more oriented to the pragmatic than the emotional component is much of a factor as it’s about a certain kind of awareness and a sense of responsibility toward the community in which you belong to. This reinforces the saying that the personal *is* political.

I just learned in Georgia that it is against the law to give free food away near the election!

Hi Amy,

I want to send you a big THANK YOU for your vlog. You spread so much good information and help. Keep going!

You are right. Deaf does not equal physically disabled. You are a great role model.

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Hello! everyone, I am deaf. I just check ur website.. i find it. thank u very much. I am so happy. i want to chat with deaf ppl. i like to the world and culture. Nice to meet u. Have a good day! ASAP

Norma

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