US election 2016: my voting experience with the accessible terminal

Today, along with many of my fellow Americans, I went to my local precinct to cast my ballot for president, Senate, House races, and several other positions and bond issues. Don’t worry… This post isn’t going to be about who to vote for or who to not vote for… You will see enough of that on social media and on the news.

Though I’ve been eligible to vote, and have voted, for the past 20 years, and though this is my sixth presidential election, this was the first election in which I was able to vote mostly independently, without Sighted assistance. When I lived in Arizona and Washington, generally, I had to have someone assist me in filling out the ballot… Usually a relative or trusted friend. In Arizona, all we had were the paper ballots. There were no accessible voting terminals when I became eligible to vote in 1996, until my departure at the end of 1999. In Washington, we had a mix of in person voting and mail in voting. Accessible voting machines were introduced during my time in Washington. However, gaining access to one was often inconvenient. You either had to attend a meeting of ACB or NFB… Or you had to go to one specific polling place in order to use them. So, I continued using paper ballots, and having someone I trusted help me in the privacy of my home and mailing the ballot in after I was finished.

Now, I live in Ohio. I knew, from visiting a polling precinct in Springfield last year, that accessible voting terminals were much more readily available here than I had ever experienced in Washington state. However, due to when I arrived in the state and registered to vote, I had not registered in time to vote in the contest last November. With that said, today, I was looking forward to trying The machines… Don’t get me wrong. I trust my fiancé completely, and if I had needed to have her assist in filling out a ballot, I know I could count on her to do it, and to cast the vote for the candidates and positions as I dictated them to her. But, having that freedom to do it myself is truly awesome.

I reported to my precinct, which is housed in the gymnasium of the school portion of the church I currently attend. At first, I wasn’t sure how things would go… When we asked the poll workers about speech and or braille, none of them were quite sure as to what would be available. After some difficulties, we found a worker who knew how the machines function. It turns out that all of the machines have an audio option… They have headphones available if you need them, or you can do as I did and use your own earbuds or headphones. The buttons are clearly marked in braille. Once they had the machine set up, I was able to go through the entire Ballot without issues. Yes, it may have taken me quite a bit longer because the audio is much slower than I’m used to listening… But, I was afforded the same right to privacy and secrecy of my vote as my Sighted counterparts.

No matter who wins the top job, no matter how the races turn out… For the first time, I truly know how my ballot was cast. The machine spoke very clearly, letting me know who or what I was selecting, and even went over my selections at the end, allowing me an opportunity to make changes if necessary. Like I said, I’m thankful to those who have assisted me with voting in the past, even if my vote differed from theirs… But having the freedom to cast my vote and take my time is A truly awesome feeling.

If I could change anything about the process, I would suggest that poll workers need to be better trained… Even if you don’t show every worker every function of the machine, they should at least know what is available for their blind voters, as well as those with any other disabilities requiring assistance. Other than that, I must say, I was very pleased with my experience.

Updates From My World: The Good, The Bad, and Everything In Between

It’s been a while since I’ve updated here…Those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook probably know a lot of this, but…As I haven’t posted to the website in a while, figured I’d give my readers an update on what’s going on with me.

For starters, I’m no longer in Springfield. I’d been out of town, visiting my girlfriend, and came home to find my place had been burglarized. I don’t want to get into a lot of details as there is still an active police investigation, but, it was enough to get me out of town. Top it off with the landlord being completely unresponsive when notified about the break-in…Sorry, but a dirtbag like that doesn’t deserve another red cent from me. That said, I did recover my laptop minus all cords/cables, and my iPad minus the charging cable. Still missing a modem, stereo, the first XM unit I ever bought, and…No joke…A case of Yuengling, one of my favorite beers out of Pennsylvania. At least the thief had decent taste in beer, I suppose. Next time, buy your own. I did. LOL

I met some wonderful people in Springfield, but the burglary was sort of the last straw. After recent events, including housemates who free-loaded off me and still owe me nearly $1300 in back rent and other incidentals, very happy to leave that town behind. Heard the ex-housemates are in Georgia now. Good riddance. Hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson and won’t cheat the next person they rent from. But, I digress…Back to Springfield…I’ll still come back to visit friends, many of whom have become like family to me…But I don’t foresee myself living in such a ghetto place again.

In happier news, I’m now in Columbus, seeing an absolutely wonderful woman. We’re keeping things mostly quiet and spending as much time together to build the relationship as possible. We click on just about every level, which is an amazing feeling. I feel like I’ve finally found my equal…A relationship that can be a true 50-50, or as close to it as possible.

At work, i’ve moved up to a new position. I had been working as a reservations agent; I’m now a team member in our rewards department and loving it. The pay is better, and the work is a bit more challenging. And hey…My worst day here is still better than most days were dealing with callers at the IRS. LOL. In all seriousness, loving the company I currently work for, and can see myself staying with them for a long time.

As many know, I’ve been off-air with regards to the radio show since March due to someone inadvertently knocking over my hard drive. Working on rebuilding the music collection bit by bit, and I’m hoping to return to the airwaves on XTFM soon.

Awaiting word from work, but if all goes well, I should be travelling to Arizona to see family and friends just bbefore Christmas. Stay tuned to this spacce and social media to learn more.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently become a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant. Unfortunately, due to life’s constant roller coaster, I haven’t been able to do much with the business yet…But now that things are settling down, I hope to do parties, virtual or in person…And would love for any of you reading this to check out the site and purchase anything you like. You can also like the Facebook Page!

Of course, I’m still your One-Stop Shop for Amazon Products!

Hey…Had to promote the business stuff. First, I do want to grow the Pampered Chef business…And hey, everyone pretty much shops Amazon…Why not help out a friend? And yes, I do reciprocate.

In closing, though there have been some bumps in the road since moving to Ohio, there’s been a lot of good. New friends, awesome lady, great job, and the opportunity to work full-time from home. Who knows…If I play my cards right, I may very well be able to take this job and keep it and move back to Arizona in time. Life is full of possibilities.

Say What You Mean, Especially If You Want to Retain Donors, CSL Plasma

I donate plasma at CSL Plasma here in Springfield, Ohio. Normally, I think they’re an awesome company, and I’m proud to be a donor. However, this post is about something that happend on Monday, September 21, 2015. I don’t generally like throwing companies under the bus when I’m over-all pleased with them, but…This deserves a post.

Myself and my fiancee, Megan, went in to donate today. When donating plasma, you’re not only helping others, but you do receive some financial compensation, which is a nice bonus. Also, you’re allowed to donate twice a week…Unlike blood donation, where you can only do it once every 8 weeks. Every 16 if you donate a double unit of red cells.

As those who know us know, Megan wennt to the local emergency room Thursday. She wasn’t feeling well, and due to her insurance, the ER was a better option than an urgent care. She was treated and released, with no complications found other than low potassium. As ER’s and any other doctor’s offices do, they did blood tests. When we went to donate, the floor staff spotted a bruise that was too small for Megan, or any of our sighted family members to see. Because of this, they sent her to see a nurse. In this case, the nurse was Maggie. I only mention the nurse’s name because she’s a source of trouble later in the story, and, as I learned, a prior source of trouble for Megan.

Maggie deferred her, stating she needed to get a note from the hospital that she’d had blood work done. I understand this, as there are concerns about needle drug use, which neither of us are fans of. I have had no personal experience with this nurse, so have no personal bias against her. Apparently, this same nurse had deferred Megan years ago because she was seeking treatment from a mental health professional, which CSL was aware of. Megan had donated plasma several times after making CSL aware of her involvement with mental health counselors, but for whatever reason, Maggie decided she needed deferment based on her mental health, and wanted a note stating she’s mentally stable enough to donate. So, I’m beginning to think Maggie has something against Megan personally, or those who aren’t as perfect as her.

So, we went to the hospital, and got a note, signed by the on-duty nurse, that Megan had indeed had blood work done. We returned to the Springfield location of CSL with said note, and Megan went in. Unfortunately, she again dealt with Maggie. I say “unfortunately” because Maggie can’t recall what she said before, or just likes to screw around with the donors. Upon arriving, Megan presented the note, which is what Nurse Maggie requested. At this point, Maggie informed her CSL would need her discharge papers.

Here’s where I take issue with things, and why I’m writing this post and putting Maggie and CSL, whom I’m otherwise pleased with, on blast. First, if you want discharge papers, and not just a note saying blood work was done, say so. It’s not that hard…Is it?

Next, as Megan’s diagnosis, though technnically referred to as chest pain, had nothing to do with heart trouble or anything else in the high-risk categories, her medical records and discharge papers are none of CSL Plasma’s business.

We’ve left a voice mail with the manager of the plasma center, and await her response. I’ve advised Megan to return with the notice, and the discharge papers…To request a nurse other than Maggie, and to explain what was requested. IF they require the discharge papers, then I expect the manager to allow Megan to explain things, and to continue to allow her to donate as she’s not in one of the high-risk categories according to the doctor, the physician’s assistant, nurse, and all others who worked with her.

When I first donated a couple weeks ago, I was told plasma donation gets a bad rap. Well, if you have nurses like Maggie, making it difficult for willing and able donors to donate, you’re going to continue to have a bad wrap. Personally, I like donating. yes, the compensation is great…But, I do it because I love the fact I can donate more frequently than I can with straight blood, and the plasma has uses for people in multiple ways. It’s a good feeling to know I’m helping out. But, if you push out someone I care about just because one of your nurses can’t communicate properly, you’ll lose her, me, and anyone else I can convince not to donate to your company.

Updates will be coming soon as to what happens with this issue. Watch this post.

Wes’s Musical Meltdown for August 25, 2015: Show Recap, Playlist, and Download

The August 25 edition of The Meltdown was the first from my new home in Springfield, Ohio. You’ll notice a difference in the sound of the show’s acoustics during voice breaks as the room I’m broadcasting in is all wood, no carpets.

In addition to a change of venue, we also introduced a new co-host. Making her XTFM debut, it’s Megan Mason. She does well for her first time doing radio. She even brought us a fun discussion topic for one of our voice breaks. Check out The Museum Of Death. Sounds like a fascinating place to visit.

We had new music from Buckcherry, Shinedown, Lamb of God, Kip Moore, and many others, in addition to several listener requests. This week’s Cover Comparison was the classic “Always On My Mind”, as done by Willie Nelson and the Pet Shop boys.

As always, if you enjoy what you hear, and want to help support the site, Buy something from Amazon to help us out.

Here’s the playlist.

  1. Godsmack, Something Different
  2. Eminem, My Dad’s Gone Crazy
  3. XYZ, Inside Out
  4. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Mr. Bill Collector
  5. Within Temptation, What Have You Done (ft. Keith Caputo) (Request from Megan)
  6. Within Temptation, Dangerous (Feat. Howard Jones) (request from Megan)
  7. Fiona Apple, Paper Bag (request from Megan)
  8. No Doubt, Ex-Girlfriend
  9. Howard Jones, No One Is To Blame
  10. Amy Grant, That’s What Love Is For (request from Steph)
  11. Richard Thompson, Don’t Let a Thief Steal into Your Heart
  12. Secondhand Serenade, Goodbye (Request from Holly)
  13. Secondhand Serenade, Your Call (Request from Holly)
  14. Secondhand Serenade, A Twist In My Story (Request from Holly)
  15. Rascal Flatts, What Hurts The Most
  16. Willie Nelson, Always On My Mind
  17. Pet Shop Boys, Always On My Mind
  18. Three Days Grace, Animal I Have Become (request from Megan)
  19. Three Days Grace, Home (request from Megan)
  20. The Pretty Reckless, Fucked Up World [Explicit]
  21. The Pretty Reckless, Goin’ Down
  22. Elvis Presley, Kentucky Rain (request from Bob)
  23. Elvis Presley, Suspicious Minds
  24. Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth
  25. The Hollies, Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress / Stereo
  26. Johnny Cash, Cocaine Blues [Live]
  27. Aerosmith, No Surprize
  28. Sammy Hagar, Remember the Heroes
  29. Loverboy, Turn Me Loose
  30. Buckcherry, The Feeling Never Dies
  31. Saint Asonia, Even Though I Say
  32. Shinedown, Cut the Cord
  33. Lamb Of God, Still Echoes
  34. Train, I’m Drinkin’ Tonight
  35. Kip Moore, I’m To Blame
  36. Montgomery Gentry, Folks Like Us
  37. Lady Antebellum, Bartender
  38. Tyler Farr, Redneck Crazy
  39. Cole Swindell, Ain’t Worth The Whiskey
  40. Francesca Battistelli, He Knows My Name
Play