ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Voters who are visually impaired or have other disabilities are raising concerns over difficulties they face at the polls. There are two voting machines used here in New York for people who are visually impaired or have other disabilities: the Dominion Image Cast and the ES&S DS200. 

“So the image cast has a voting session for a voter with special needs or disabled voter that’s directly attached to the machine. The ES & S machine has a separate device called an auto mark that walks the voter through the ballot,” said John Conklin with NYS Board of Elections.

Even with this technology, some with disabilities have expressed frustration at the polls, “But the issue is that poll workers are really not educated on accessible voting machines which is frankly a disgrace,” said Blaise Bryant, who was born completely blind. He said his experience voting depends on where he votes, because different counties have different machines and some are more difficult than others. “I did ask a poll worker for help initially but because a technician was not able to come for another half hour my fiancé was waiting for me out in the car, so I just had her come in and help me out because my time, just like your time, is valuable,” he said.

However Conklin said there are four instructors at every election district, trained to help voters with disabilities. He also said the machines used are top notch, “So New York State only uses certified machines that have been tested both by federal labs and by New York State. There’s no question that it takes longer for that kind of voting session to take place. Because the machine literally walks the voter through the entire ballot, it can take significantly longer for them to complete the voting process.”

There’s also the new Electronic Accessible Ballot Delivery System, which allows voters with disabilities to complete their ballot electronically on their personal device. Dan Phillips, with Central Association for The Blind in Utica said, this is a step in the right direction. “We feel good about it because it promotes independence, somebody can use their smartphone or their tablet, their PC with the accessibility features that they know because they’re using them for their jobs, for their everyday lives, and now they can use it for voting,” he said. You can find out additional voter information by visiting elections.ny.gov.