Disabled advocate exercises his right to vote on Election Day

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While the right to vote is easy for most, some have to put forth an extra effort to cast their ballot.

Election is a big day and for some calls for a big pot of coffee. If it’s anything like last time, Jose Lopez might need a few more cups.

Lopez lives in constant darkness. Glaucoma left him blind as a teenager.

“Life becomes a work around. Your job is to work around it,” he said.

That includes voting. During the primary elections in August, it took him nearly three hours to cast a ballot.

“No one there knew how to operate the machines,” he recalled.

Lopez is the president of the Act Now! Council for the Blind in Kansas City. It’s an advocacy group.

To avoid what happened a couple months ago, he made a few calls hoping for speedier results.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires accessibility to all polling places. All workers are trained to help voters with special needs, but the law isn’t bullet proof.

“Unfortunately the machine just failed us that day,” said election official Dee Gary.

When Lopez arrived at Northland Cathedral to vote, he was hopeful.

“Our privilege of voting should be confidential so why should I, as a blind person, be treated any differently than anyone else,” said Lopez.

Born in Cuba, Lopez did not have a voice in representation. So when he became an American, the right to vote and being able to exercise that right became a priority.

“I'm not asking for someone to paint my house, I'm not asking for anything unreasonable, except to exert my right as an American citizen to vote,” he said.

Within half an hour on the election floor, Lopez walked out a very happy voter.

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