Curbside voting is beneficial, yet largely unknown

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Curbside voting isn’t sweeping the nation but, on Election Day, almost all Americans travel to their nearest polling location to do their civic duty: vote.

“(Curbside voting) is something to offer people that may have a health issue or disability that wouldn’t be able to physically go into the precinct,” DeWitt Township Clerk Diane Mosier said. “I don’t think a lot of people know about it but those with disabilities sometimes do know.”

That’s exactly the case for James G. He suffered a stroke about three years ago, and the after-effects from the event prevented him from going inside to vote.

James G.'s vehicle waits in a handicapped spot while he votes in the presidential election thanks to curbside voting.

James G.’s vehicle waits in a handicapped spot while he votes in the presidential election thanks to curbside voting.

“You’re able to do it without hassle, take your time and not be in a crunch,” James said from the passenger seat of his vehicle. “I’ve voted all my life, but this is my first (time) curbside voting. I didn’t even know (it existed) until today.”

“He had no idea,” Mosier said. “He was just so anxious and he wanted to vote. he was going to do whatever it took.”

His caregiver agreed, adding that the logistics of the voting process would have been the biggest obstacle to overcome. While sitting in the driver’s seat, she said it was nice to not have to get all his equipment out.

Curbside voting is in the “Assisting Voters” section of the Michigan Election Inspectors’ Procedure Manual. It says, “The needed help must be provided by two inspectors who have expressed a preference for different political parties. The two inspectors deliver the ballot inside the secrecy sleeve to the voter and deposit the ballot into the tabulator after it is marked by the voter.”

“I could struggle in there, but it would be tiring,” James added. “I said ‘wow’, you know. It’s very convenient.”

“He was going to do whatever it took,” Mosier explained. “If that meant struggling to get into the precinct, he’d do it”

If a voter can not come into the precinct, they honk to get the attention of the election workers.

“We’ve told (election workers) that if someone needs assistance, they’d honk,” Mosier said with a chuckle. “They go and find out what assistance they need. I have a poll manager who listens to those things.”

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