WEST FARGO — The first person in line to early voting in West Fargo Friday, Oct. 23, had a lot to be anxious about. 77-year-old Horace resident Allan Peterson, who has been blind for decades, voted alone for the first time thanks to new technology.
At West Fargo's DoubleTree Inn, Peterson stood ready, waiting. What some of us consider a chore, Peterson had a much different perspective.
"Before there was a way to vote independently, I had to rely on my wife or an election judge to mark the ballot for me," Peterson explained.
After he checked in, polling site workers escorted him to a little piece of history. New computerized machines that allow blind people to vote alone. This kind of new technology is available to the 12 million people in the U.S. who are blind, or have some kind of vision impairment.
A first for since going blind due to a degenerative eye disease in 1983. A machine read to him the names and political parties of candidates.
"That is what the great thing about this. It is all about independence, I can do it independently and not divulge who I voted for," Peterson said.
Through his headphones, he learned about the candidates and ballot measures. Much like a video game console, Peterson voted without the help of someone else filling in the oval next to his candidate.
"It is very liberating. I like it a lot," Peterson said.