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Capitol Correspondence - 01.21.20

Senate Introduces Bill to Help People with Disabilities Vote

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As announced by the Senate Special Committee on Aging:

“Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, introduced the Accessible Voting Act, which would support state and local efforts to improve voter accessibility and remove barriers to voting. In the 2016 general election, 16 million votes, representing 11.5 percent of the total votes, were cast by people with disabilities. [ANCOR note: Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) is also an original co-sponsor of this legislation.] However, a GAO study found that only 17 percent of the polling places it examined during the 2016 election were fully accessible. As the baby boomer population continues to age, these barriers are y likely to adversely impact even more Americans.

[…]

The Accessible Voting Act would:

  • Establish the Office of Accessibility within the Election Assistance Commission to support and oversee state efforts to expand voter accessibility and serve as a resource for advocates and voters;
  • Provide up-to-date voting information and resources, through accessible websites, to ensure voters know how to register to vote, cast an absentee ballot and find help if their right to vote is challenged;
  • Expand the number of options to cast a ballot in federal elections so voters with disabilities can utilize the voting option most accessible for them;
  • Create a national resource center on accessible voting to conduct cultural competency trainings for election officials and poll workers to create truly accessible voting systems; and
  • Increase grants to states to improve accessibility when registering to vote, voting by absentee ballot and casting a ballot in person.”