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Make your mark on Nov. 4

With all the political and economic turmoil these days, November 4 is quite possibly the most important day in America’s recent history. A new president will be elected to take office, along with various members of Congress and local officials. The best way to get things done in your interest is to put officials in office who will work for you, so don’t forget to go out and vote for the candidates you support.

Poll results for Democrat candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain have gone up and down throughout the election season, a trend expected to continue until election day.

A survey we conducted with local Society members showed that the cost and adequacy of medical insurance was the biggest issue in your eyes, followed by the cost of medications.

According to their Web sites, both candidates plan to lower the cost of medications. McCain wants to bring in greater competition to the drug markets through re-importation of drugs and faster introduction of generic drugs. Obama plans to lower drug costs by increasing competition and allowing Americans to purchase medications from other developed countries. He also plans to increase use of and access to generic medications.

On the issue of medical insurance, McCain plans to have individuals and families receive a direct refundable tax credit to offset insurance costs. Obama plans to have a benefit package that’s similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and also plans to reform private insurance.

To find out more about where they stand on these and other important issues, you can visit each candidate’s Web site.

Accessible Voting Information

Before you vote, you should know about your rights and options. Voters have the right to change their polling place if it lacks accommodations or is in any way inaccessible. Voters with disabilities can also opt for an absentee ballot in that case.

Knowing your rights is important because a 2000 scientific survey of polling places and accessibility found that only 20% of polling places were fully accessible. Congress, through the Help America Vote Act, has spent almost $800 million making voting accessible since 2003. About 50-60% of polling places are wheelchair-accessible and around 45-50% are voting machine-accessible.

Voters have the right to vote privately and independently. If there is not an accessible machine in the polling place or if workers don’t know how to use them, the voter will need human assistance. It is that voter’s right to pick the person who is going to help. Voters can pick someone in line there or bring a helper with them. Voters can also call their election office at least 10 days before an election to make sure that workers at the polling place know how to turn on and use the accessible voting machines.


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