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Physical disabilities and voting accessibility

It is a sad reality that physical disabilities can take many things away from their victims. For example, such disabilities sometimes take away a person's ability to perform everyday tasks without assistance. Such disabilities also sometimes deprive a person of the ability to work.

One thing, however, that a person with physical disabilities should never have to face being deprived of because of their disability is the right to vote. One thing that can interfere with a disabled person's right to vote are access issues when it comes to voting.

Sadly, access issues were a problem in the elections in 2012. This and other problems led to a bipartisan presidential commission being formed to look at voting issues. One of the things the commission looked at were ways to help reduce access issues and ensure that individuals with physical disabilities are not impeded from voting. Recently, this commission issued its recommendations.

Here are some of the commission's recommendations:

  • That regular audits regarding accessibility be done on polling places.
  • That early voting be made more available.
  • That online voter registration be expanded.
  • That election officials for all jurisdictions set up local advisory groups to look into the voting accessibility needs of their jurisdiction's disabled population.

One wonders if the recommendations will be implemented and, if they are, if they will help reduce the occurrence of accessibility problems regarding voters with physical disabilities.

One hopes that making voting fully accessible for individuals with physical disabilities will be a top priority for election officials here in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Presidential Panel Calls For Improved Voting Accessibility," Shaun Heasley, Jan. 24, 2014

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