Have you ever found yourself alone and clueless in the voting booth, suddenly aware that there are whole columns of unknown candidates vying for positions you never knew existed? There’s an app for that!
My Ballot is now up and running for the November 4th election. The site provides the voter with a sample ballot complete with links to popular sites that provide information about each candidate. It covers any election in the state of Minnesota.
Find My Ballot at www.myballot.info – Enter your zip code and you’ll find the exact replica of the ballot you’ll face in the voting booth – with a digital crib sheet. You can’t vote online, but you can prepare yourself to make the best decisions when your turn comes.
Still, for some Minnesotans, getting to the polls this season will present a mighty challenge. The October 10 issue of Access Press, now on the newsstands, shines light on a harsh reality — voters with disabilities can’t depend on a lift to the polls this year. Since 2008 the Rides to the Polls Coalition, made up of several disability service providers and organized through Courage Kenny, has been funded by the Frey Foundation to provide rides to persons with disabilities. Those funds are no more, and no other provider has been able to continue the service.
The Secretary of State’s office encourages voters who need transportation to the polling place to contact family, friends or neighbors. It would seem appropriate to reverse the message to encourage mobile Minnesotans to consider family members, friends and neighbors who might need a ride.
Though Metro Transit in the Twin Cities must offer regular fixed-route transit service free of charge on Election Days the rule does not apply in non-urban areas. In some communities political parties provide rides. In any event, this patchwork approach falls far short of the need, particularly since people with disabilities have long depended on the Rides to the Polls Coalition.
One option is for voters with disabilities to vote absentee by mail or by going to an elections office prior to Election Day. This means people need to know the rules of absentee voting in advance. For the rules on absentee voting and everything else you ever wanted to know about Minnesota election law and were afraid to ask, check Ballotpedia where the Secretary of State posts all the rules: http://ballotpedia.org/Minnesota_elections,_2014#Voting_absentee
Related story: New website makes voting easier than ever (Barb Kucera, Workday Minnesota, 2014)