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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 5, 2019 01:59 PM
From: Representative Brandon J. Markosek
To: All House members
Subject: Braille Absentee Ballots
Despite the enactment of several federal laws affording people living with disabilities the right to vote independently, many people with visual impairments or blindness find casting a vote at their local polling place to be a daunting task. Outdated technology and a lack of privacy can make the experience overwhelming and off-putting. Voting by absentee ballot is not a perfect solution either as it requires a blind or visually impaired voter to rely another person for assistance with reading the ballot and marking their selection.

As a step toward ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can vote privately and without assistance, I am offering legislation which will require the Department of State to provide special absentee ballots printed in Braille to qualified voters who submit a written request for a special ballot. Braille absentee ballots will enable visually impaired and blind voters to cast their vote by themselves and in the privacy of their own home.

Voting must be accessible for all people. Currently, three other states provide braille absentee ballots. Please join me in supporting this important legislation which will remove an unnecessary barrier to independently participating in the democratic process. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Luce in my Harrisburg office at (717) 772-4511 or via email at jluce@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HB1235