Yonkers, N. Y. (Nov. 5)
The inalienable right of every American citizen to participate in his government by the expression of the ballot is in no way impaired by blindness. At least not for the fourteen members of the “League of Blind Voters,” comprising the voting inmates of the Home of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind. Tomorrow a bus will leave their Yonkers home for the polling place and members of the league will express their choices in the gubernatorial and local contests.
It is not much of a league as numbers go, what with only fourteen members, and it is not much of a league as formality goes, there being no officers or directors, and no scheduled meetings. All year round the “league” remains dormant and almost forgotten, but as election day approaches it suddenly takes form and convenes at any and odd moments.
The radio, that heaven-sent gift to the blind, more often that not hurls the “league” into sudden session, and into spirited and prolonged discussion. Candidates’ speeches, which are often wasted on thin air as those possessed of light turn their radios off as they depart for the movies, are listened to religiously by the blind. For the radio is the newspaper of the blind, a supplement to the all too infrequent second-hand newspaper reading they get.
In the Home, the land of perpetual conversation are wa### some of the fiercest and most partisan political discussions. But these conclaves are always in secrecy. The outsider who approaches within hearing of these discussions immediately silences them. It is as though the blind were holding a political caucaus of their own. They will not discuss politics, your reporter learned; their choices are strictly a matter for the ballot.
What the “league” lacks in formality it makes up in maturity. Four of the members are in the fifties, four in the sixties, and two in the seventies. Isaac Merican, a patriarch of seventy-eight, is the dean. The others are Anna Bernard, Rosa Bernstein, Florence Bleendes, Julius Gans, Isaac Guran, James Kalman, Fannie London, Barney Mamet, Regina Nachbar, Benjamin Richmond, Max Roth, Sally Stern and Anna Topolsky.
The particular voting technique of the voters of the “league” is interesting. After their bus conveys them to the polling place, each is accompanied into the voting booth by representatives of the contending political parties, and as he or she expresses a choice, the proper level is pulled down. The voter, in person, then operates the master lever that registers the vote.
In lieu of an election forecast or a straw vote at the Home, “Dean” Merican finally consented to give your reporter a statement: “We have considered,” he said. “We shall vote. May God grant wisdom to our judgment.