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Who should get help voting?

READ MORE: Who should get help voting?
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A bill introduced in Raleigh this week is stirring up some controversy. Right now, state law allows folks who are blind, illiterate, or physically unable to fill out a ballot to have help inside the voting booth, as long as they explain their problem to poll workers. However, State Senator RC Soles wants to change the law to allow anybody to bring anyone with them into the voting booth, no questions asked. "This merely says that if you want somebody to go into the polling place with you that you can have assistance and they can go with you, it doesn't make you have it, it doesn't make you tell a reason why you want to have it, it's just merely to encourage people to come on out and vote,” Soles said. While Soles said if you have a disability, or if you can't read, it can be embarrassing to have to explain that to a poll worker. But not everyone is on board with his proposed changes to the law. "It would be a flood gate of problems of they were to pass the law," said poll worker Dorris Strickland. Strickland has volunteered as a poll worker in Columbus County in the past. She said even with the current restrictions, people try to manipulate the system, and influence votes by jumping in to help people that may not want or need it. "You would have the mentally handicapped that would be taken advantage of, you would have people that can't read that would be taken advantage of. This is not right. They should be able to vote for who they want to vote for, and not have someone else vote their ballot for them.” Members of the Columbus County Board of Elections say these types of things have happened, as recently as the November election. "This precinct here, several people drug a man up to the door and he was telling them he did not want to vote, they drug him up and finally he fell on the ground, and at the time, Carla went out and told them they couldn't force the man to vote," said Margaret Roland. Board of elections members insist precinct judges are very discreet when verifying people need assistance, and she says the proposed changes could do more harm than good. A spokesperson for the ACLU agrees that the current law may keep the disabled from voting if they don't want to explain their disability to a poll worker.

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Need Help Voting?

Well here's an astonishing idea! Simply request an absentee ballot and you can get help from anyone you wish to ask! Wow! Problem solved. What's next?

Good idea

Apparently you are a hired Soles worker. If your relative did not vote, that's her fault. All precinct workers are courteous and go beyond their level of duty to see that every voter gets the proper attention and at the same time all Chief Judges see that the privacy of the voter is protected unless by some unforseen reason a person attempts to place himself in a position to see how the vote is being cast. This has been done to me by one of R.C. Soles' paid workers. Whenever he was "called on the carpet" about it, he backed away from the voting booth. Senator Soles has only one objective in mind about this Senate bill 56 and that is to control the situation on election day as much as he can. He once made the statement that Columbus County residents don't know what they need or want. He has to tell them. Excusssse me! I don't need Senator Soles and I will be so glad when he is defeated. If he keeps on coming up with "hair brain" bills like this one, his demise will surely come in 2010! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good Idea

I think its a great idea. Last election I drove my elderly neighbor to vote as I have done for years. I usually assist her in the voting booth because she is not comfortable with the computer voting. I do not tell her how to vote I simply assist her. We were told unless she declared a disability I would be unable to assist. She is not blind or disabled just elderly and has a difficult time with the glare on the screen. She was told a poll worker would assist her however she wasn't comfortable with someone she didn't know looking at her ballot. We left without her voting because she couldn't declare a disability and didn't want a stranger to help her. Good idea Senator Soles.

Glare? Is that right? Your

Glare? Is that right? Your neighbor's orneriness coupled with her skittishness about computers is what kept her from voting. Well, she sure showed them!

I guess the next step

would be for the Jefe or Patron to send his foremen into the voting booth with all the new voters who will register over the next 4 years before the next Presidential election? Go to South Texas, or read history. Study the Senatorial election of 1948 in which "Landslide" Lyndon Johnson won the vacant Texas Senate seat by 84 votes. That's what can happen when something like this goes wrong. The privacy of the voting booth is a structural part of our democratic society. If you have a disability then secure an absentee ballot. Go to one of the early voting sessions. But maintain the sanctity of the voting booth.

Surf City Tom--I guess the next step

Are you saying that Senator Soles should leave the voter assistance law like it is now? He clearly wants his supporters to answer to no one except him. He wants their vote and no questions asked. This should be a bi-partisan issue. Democrats should not support him in this piece of legistlature he is trying to get passed. The simple reason is this: Democrats control most of the elected seats now, but that will not always be the case. It will be just as hard to get an Unaffiliated, Republican or Libertian out of office once elected by the guidelines Senator Soles is proposing. Senate bill 56 will be taking advantage of a lot of people if it is passed. This is wrong in every sense of the word. Voter fraud is written all over this proposed bill. Another issue is this. Why in his 28 years of legislative duty is he all of a sudden coming up with revising this part of North Carolina's election law dealing with voter assistance? Could it be that in the last election he didn't win Brunwick and Pender Counties and he only won by 179 votes in his OWN PRECINCT? Is Senator Soles scared he will be defeated in 2010? I hope he spends a lot of sleepless nights between now and then.

He has a lot of sleepless nights...

...but you DON'T want to know why he's up and what he's doing.

sleepless nights

No, I don't want to know what he would be doing during his sleepless nights, but there are a lot of people in his area that could tell you some stories that any movie industry could make a fortune out of if it was all documented and portrayed. The man is totally unbashed at times.

Bo Peep

Learn to read and get the wool out of your eyes. Clearly, I stated leave the privacy and sanctity of the voting booth alone. Clearly I stated if someone had a real problem, they could get an absentee ballot. Clearly, I referred to a 1948 election in which rampant voter fraud occurred and was a direct result of the voting booth not being protected. I guess tending your sheep kept you away from school.

Surf City Tom

You need to get your water head straight. You communicate your thoughts very poorly until after the fact. Stay inside a little more. The sun must be getting to you. I do agree, however that the voting booth needs to be protected and not every Tom, Dick or Harry allowed to see how a person is voting.

Fraid Not Bo Peep

My initial post was very clear; any one who can read could refer to the historical reference I made and viewed just how perverted voter fraud can become when the sanctity of the voting booth is not defended.

Anyone that has lived in

Anyone that has lived in Columbus County, will have noticed that the Election this past November was the cleanest it has ever been. Why, because the Voter Assistance law had finally been enforced when it came to aggressive voter assistance by campaign workers. Now that it is finally being enforced (due to the outcome of the Hearing that took place in Whiteville last summer) those that have continuously abused this law, now want to change the law in order to allow this common practice to continue. Here's news for you, the voters don't want to be harrassed and intimidated by campaign workers. Many voters have not turned out in the past for that very reason. This is the way it has always been done and many of the Citizens of Columbus County are tired of it. To work honestly for the votes is quite an amazing concept, isn't it. The SB56 is a self serving bill and everyone knows it.

Totally not a good idea. It

Totally not a good idea. It would be an easy way for people to be manipulated and told who to vote for. Especially for someone who could not write on their own ballot and had to have assistance or a person who cannot read. There has to be a better way than that.

Extra Person in Voting Booth

This is absolutely not a good idea. People could be gathered up (have been), registered when they care nothing and know nothing about candidates (has happened) and then ushered in with another person who would actually be casting the ballot. It could also be a situation of intimidation in the voting booth. If people don't have sense enough or reading ability to cast "their" ballot by themselves, they do NOT deserve to vote.

At times polls are too crowded, why add anyone else

People that have a problem voting at the Polls, can send a absentee balot in, the people that were going help them in the booth, can help fill it out. It is sad some people do not know the issues and vote because they like the looks of a person.