Courtesy photo Aktion Club president Alex Lopez,Êof Sebring,Êlearns how to cast his ballot while Highlands County Supervisor of Elections technician Shirley Higgins gives him instructions. Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell (from left, in back), Aktion Club member Mac Smith and elections trainer Roy Wright watch as each club member processed their ballot.
published: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Aktion Club learns how to vote
Special to the News-Sun
AVON PARK - The Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Office trained Aktion Club members on July 26 on how to fill out a ballot and use a voting machine.
Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell, technician Shirley Higgins and elections trainer Roy Wright attended the Aktion Club meeting at Ridge Area Arc to educate the members who have disabilities about how to vote. Campbell informed the group about the upcoming elections and the voting process.
A training ballot was passed out so each member could practice filling it out properly. They got to vote for their favorite cars, musicians and ice cream as well as a couple propositions on three-day weekends and pay increases every six months.
"I can't eat chocolate so I voted for vanilla ice cream," Aktion Club member Raymond Jackson said. "This is not so hard to do. I feel better about wanting to be a voter."
"I feel better now," Helena Spies said after casting her ballot. "It's easy to do."
The training taught them how to make choices and how to properly fill out the ballot.
So far, eight Aktion Club members have registered to become new voters.
This was just the first step in teaching individuals with disabilities about the election process. The Aktion Club will be sponsoring a Political Rally at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ridge Area Arc which will allow Highlands County political candidates in the Primary and General elections to come for a tour of the facilities and make a five-minute presentation to the audience. People with disabilities, Arc staff, caregivers, families, board members, Kiwanis Club of Sebring members and the general public are invited.
There have been 11 candidates so far who have responded that they are attending the rally.
Aktion Club is a civic group sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Sebring. It consists of adults with disabilities who help people in the community.
In October, the final phase will be a five-week training program to learn about all the candidates and issues on the General Election ballot. Ridge Area Arc staff will be offering this class to individuals with disabilities in their program.
"The purpose of this training is to educate individuals with disabilities as much as possible about voting process and the political candidates," said Aktion Club advisor Cindy Marshall. "We want to eliminate the typical perception that people with learning disabilities don't understand the issues or know the candidates. In all honesty, there are very few voters who really know every candidate on the ballot."
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Florida recently launched the "Your Vote, Your Voice" campaign in an effort to help keep voting accessible for citizens with developmental disabilities. Since people with disabilities in Florida have experienced some severe budget cuts in the past couple years, this campaign is empowering these individuals to get out to vote so their voice can be heard. This will allow them to choose the next leaders of this county, state and country.
The "Voting In Florida: A Guide For Citizens With Disabilities" booklet is available for anyone who would like to learn more information about how to get people with disabilities involved in voting. This new booklet is provided in English and Spanish by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Inc. and free copies can be ordered online at the council's Web site at www.fddc.org or call toll free at 1-800-580-7801 or TDD toll free at 1-888-488-8633.
These are people with developmental delays. (by: MR. WONDERFUL - 8/1/2012)
They are educating them on how to vote, which they have a write, people are so ignorant around here.
Voting (by: Sam the black man - 8/1/2012)
Sounds like they are telling them who to vote for to get more FREE STUFF....
Seriously (by: Astounded - 8/1/2012)
Can you teach these voters what it means to balance a budget?
voting (by: blind man - 7/30/2012)
We know what this is really all about!
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