Disability Rights Iowa partners with state secretary for poll accessibility

Local News

Iowa polling places are taking steps to be more accessible for the upcoming 2020 elections. 

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is partnering with Disability Rights Iowa to provide a Voting Accessibility Quick Check handout for every polling place in Iowa’s ninety-nine counties. The booklets include guidelines that ensure people with disabilities are able to vote without worrying about if a polling place can accommodate their needs. 

Annie Matte, the Iowa Disability Rights Voter Outreach Coordinator, said it is important for everyone to feel welcomed at the polls. 

“If you don’t show that your polling place is welcoming to people with disabilities, they aren’t going to vote, and nobody wants that,” Matte said. 

She said the changes are simple to ensure accessibility.

“We’re making sure that poll workers have the power to check day-of to make sure that their polling place is accessible and everything in the booklet is something you can fix on the day of,” she said. 

The checklist includes requiring signs that point to alternative entrances, creating pathways to voting booths that are wide enough for wheelchairs and having all accessible voting machines turned on and ready to use. 

Scott County Auditor Roxanna Mortiz said her department is focused on equality. 

“We know that our constituency moves in a lot of different ways,” she said. “The goal and mission of our office here is to make sure that every single voter is a VIP. What we mean by that is a voter that can independently and privately cast their vote without anybody helping them.”

Matte says the guidelines are crucial during the pandemic. 

“It is especially important that these polling places are made accessible because it can be the only way to accessibly vote for some this election,” Matte said. 

To learn more about the partnership, visit the link here

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