For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
Washington, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) thanks Senators Bob Casey (PA) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) for introducing the Accessible Voting Act (AVA) today that would address the needs of voters with disabilities and ensure they have equal access to the vote on Election Day and beyond.
Even well into the 21st Century, voters across the country are still being denied equal access to the vote and this includes voters with disabilities. Laws, such as the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Help America Vote Act are all in place to protect the rights of people with disabilities and their access to the vote. Yet states and jurisdictions across the country still make routine decisions every election cycle, knowingly or unknowingly, that prevent equal access on Election Day.
The AVA would establish a new Election Assistance Commission Office of Accessibility, which would support and oversee state efforts to expand voter accessibility and serve as a resource for advocates and voters. The AVA would also add a National Resource Center on Accessible Voting that would provide cultural competency training to election officials and poll workers on how to create a truly accessible polling place. Additionally, the legislation would establish new state accessible election websites that would provide information about the voting process while designating a single state office to provide voter accessibility information as well.
Other important provisions include, requiring states to provide accessible means to register to vote online, and vote by no-excuse absentee and promote options to address adversely long lines and the use of mobile polling sites. Finally, the AVA would also fund states to implement voter accessibility upgrades at polling places.
The bill would also for the first time provide protections for individuals subject to guardianship and ensure their right to vote is not arbitrarily removed.
“We applaud Senator Casey and Senator Klobuchar for introducing legislation that will ensure voters with disabilities have an equal voice in our democracy,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “People with disabilities have overcome tremendous odds to participate in elections for years. Yet the needs of voters with disabilities are often still overlooked and misunderstood, the AVA is a necessary piece of legislation that will further ensure voters with disabilities can fully and equally participate in our elections”.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.