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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2021 10:57 AM
From: Representative Brandon J. Markosek
To: All House members
Subject: Braille Absentee Ballots (Former HB 1235)
Many people with visual impairments or blindness find casting a vote at their local polling place to be a daunting task. Moreover, outdated technology and a lack of privacy can make the experience overwhelming and off-putting.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.

Democracy works best when citizens participate, and voting must be accessible for all people. Rhode Island – our neighbor to the northeast – offers braille absentee ballots to blind or visually impaired individuals. We should follow their lead. Please join me in supporting this important legislation which will remove an unnecessary barrier to independent participation in our elections.

Introduced as HB621