Blind Midlothian man observes faults in absentee voting process

Blind Midlothian man observes faults in absentee voting process
Noel Romey is blind and voted absentee. (Source: Matt Neese)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There are a few different accessible voting options: absentee ballot, in person, and curbside voting.

Noel Romey, a blind man who lives in Midlothian, voted in this election by absentee ballot.

Before the pandemic, Noel Romey shared the machine that helps him vote: an electronic machine that audibly reads the ballot and the names of candidates, so those who are blind can vote on their own.

He says this is the same machine that will be used in the general election. But for the Nov. 3 election, Noel decided to vote absentee.

“I went through the same process as everyone else would go through to vote absentee,” Romey said.

He received his ballot in the mail and it looked exactly the same as anyone else’s, it was not in Braille.

“We can use application on our phones to take a picture of the page and have it read to us or we can use a friend or a family member to help with the application," Romey said. “If you’re completely blind and alone, say a two-person blind household, it’s a little bit more of a challenge.”

Noel says he had someone read him his ballot, but that might not always be an option.

“It was frustrating to a degree because with the possibility that I may at some point in my life have to to be voting independently, it kind of made me realize that there are other blind people out there in Virginia and Richmond that are alone," he said. "Are they able to vote?”

The time to request an absentee ballot has passed, but if you already have an absentee ballot, you can still send it in. It must be postmarked by Election Day.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.