Wednesday, November 03, 2010

accessible voting - it's not for everyone!

   “Suppose I think they are all a#*holes?” Patti quipped.

   Nearby voters chuckled, but our young poll worker who had just finished advising a 'disabled voter' on voting and had asked Patti if she had any questions about the ballot, was speechless.

   Was this about MS speech challenges? Perhaps a reaction to the ever so subtle changes in the way some people unintentionally ‘talk down’ to a person in a wheelchair? … Whatever voting with us is never boring.

   Voting is also cyclical and elections become a timeline of both progression of Patti’s MS symptoms and accessibility of voting.

   Today’s touch screens on stands are so much more accessible for a far more progressed Patti than a memorable Election Day, 14 years ago in Maryland.

   There because Patti was visually disabled she had to be accompanied into a voting booth by three poll workers representing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.  After each read a prewritten statement for each lever, three little old ladies would insist Patti pull the lever herself supporting her each time to a standing position. (Possibly an early test for gitmo detainees in lessons of democracy?)

   Anyway that is how it was ‘supposed’ to happen. If a TV football commentator been there to draw ‘the play’; well it actually went something like this.
    Patti looses balance while being supported by three little old ladies and grabs the voting machine for support. Voting machine begins to tip over.

   The little old ladies, about to be crushed, push the falling voting machine in the opposite direction. Patti looses her grip and falls into her wheel chair. Without Patti’s resistance the voting machine now begins to tip over in the other direction. The little old ladies race to the back of the machine to keep it from falling, bumping into and startling the voter behind the curtain in the machine to the right who shrieks.

   Meanwhile, back in Patti’s wheelchair she had not set her brakes. When Patti falls into her chair she shoots out in the opposite direction slamming into yet another voting machine on the left. The impact bumps the machine a couple feet knocking down its now yelling occupant.

   I can see Patti is absolutely unharmed but I cannot tell if I am watching a Three Stooges movie or if this is really happening. Myself and others waiting to vote are laughing so hard eyes are watering.

   With chaos reigning, one voter still on the floor, another in-hiding behind their curtain, poll workers assembling in a  chorus of anxious shrieking and all of which is being drowned out by laughter from the audience of waiting voters … Patti calmly rolls up to huddled poll workers and exclaims, "Excuse me, I don't believe I finished voting."  

   Accessible voting - it’s not for everyone! J

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. Wow - that's a literal enactment of Rock the Vote!

    We've come a long way, yet it confirms my suspicions. Life is a lot more sterile now.

    Thanks for the laugh -- a true LOL post.

  2. I love Patti's "punch line" and I loved her opening line with this year's elections. Tell her I thought that very thought with who was running for key positions here in California.

    I love this story!! truly one for the memory books!


  3. OMG,Patrick, that is just too funny. Wish you had gotten a video of it -- you probably could have won big $$ on AFV!
    Thank Patti for telling it like it is!! Some of them really were %$^&*!!

  4. I laughed so hard!!! That's the funniest voting story I've ever heard!


  5. It would have been funny to watch for sure. Patty has a way of summing everything up quite nicely.


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