Blind World Magazine

Too high a price at the polls.

Belleville News-Democrat, [Belleville, Illinois].
Friday, March 24, 2006.


Liberals love to say that if a government program benefits even one person, it is worth the cost. But in St. Clair County, even that low bar is too high to justify the new federally mandated voting machines for the disabled.

Not one person in St. Clair County used the machines in the primary election Tuesday. Cost to the taxpayers, $921,000; benefits, zero.

Madison County and East St. Louis had some voters use their special machines, although they didn't have a count of how many. But no doubt the costs were phenomenally out of balance with the benefits achieved.

Federal tax dollars covered most of the expense. Nationwide, the government spent about $2.8 billion to update voting equipment, $600 million of that for equipment to accommodate people with hearing and visual impairments.

This is what occurs when lawmakers try to pander to every special-interest group. Yes, it's unfortunate that people with disabilities have a difficult time voting; yes, it would be nice if they could vote independently at their assigned polling place.

But we also expect our elected leaders to be responsible with our money. Couldn't we have one special voting machine at the county courthouse rather than at each precinct? That would have saved millions, or at least freed up money for programs that would benefit more people, and not just on a couple days a year.

The truth is, the government can't afford to enact every good idea. But politicians continue to try, which is why our taxes are sky-high.

End of article.

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