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Accessibility Issues Special Presentation to Election Law Seminar.

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Presentation on theme: "Accessibility Issues Special Presentation to Election Law Seminar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accessibility Issues Special Presentation to Election Law Seminar

2 Why? 3 million Texans with disabilities + family, friends, caregivers, etc. One bad voting experience keeps people from coming back!

3 Election Law Jeopardy!

4 True or False: All voters must have a photo ID

5 Election Law Jeopardy! False! Voters with disabilities are exempt from photo ID requirements.

6 Bonus Election Law Jeopardy! Which Texas State Senator Authored the Exemption for Voters with Disabilities? Sen. Judith Zaffirini Sen. Dan Patrick Sen. Leticia Van De Putte

7 HAVA History In October 2002, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Among other requirements, HAVA: –requires privacy and independence in the voting process –created a new voting process called provisional voting –mandates access for and voter outreach to people with disabilities & disability related poll worker training

8 Important Polling Place Accessibility Info The voting area must be: (1) on the ground floor, entered from the street; or (2) accessible by an elevator providing an opening of at least 36 inches. Doors, entrances, and exits used to enter or to leave the polling place must have a minimum width of 32 inches. Any curb next to the main entrance to the polling place must have curb-cuts or temporary non-slip ramps.

9 Easy Accommodation #1

10 Easy Accommodation #2

11 Election Law Jeopardy! For an ADA ramp, the ratio of length to height is: 12 inches length to 1 inch height or 12 inches length to 2 inches height?

12 FREE Accessibility Solutions Keep poll entrance doors unlocked and/or open during voting hours Keep a chair or two handy for those needing it Make sure there is adequate space for those in wheelchairs to maneuver in/out and while voting Let all poll workers & voters know the proper procedure for handling curbside voting in advance of election day. Place accessible voting machine closest to the door to facilitate curbside voting. Invite persons with various disabilities to prescreen the polling place to see if route, doors, and inside areas are accessible; they may offer easy solutions

13 Individuals with disabilities are people first Use people-first language when referring to voters with disabilities Person with deafness, person with intellectual disability, person using a wheelchair Please avoid terms such as: “handicapped” “suffers from”, “wheelchair-bound” “afflicted with” “in spite of” or “overcame” disability is not a challenge to overcome

14 Effective Interaction with Voters with Disabilities Voters with intellectual disabilities should be assumed to be competent to vote. Individuals accompanying these voters should be permitted to assist them. Service animals are allowed into the polling place. Not all service animals are for voters who are blind. Ask persons who are visually impaired if they need assistance. If they ask for assistance getting to the voting machine, gently offer them your elbow to them to escort them to the voting station. Voters who are visually impaired should be given the opportunity to vote independently.

15 Easy Accommodation #3 If you cannot understand a person with a speech disability, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat – even three or four times.

16 Easy Accommodation #4 If an interpreter is present, speak to the person, not the interpreter.

17 Easy Accommodation #5 Sign out front with a phone to call for curbside voting

18 Most Important! Poll worker training! Regular—all elections All poll workers Hands-on training on accessible features Effective interactions with people with disabilities

19 If you have any further questions regarding voting, polling place accessibility, poll worker training, HAVA requirements, or other elections related questions, please contact: Office of the Secretary of State Elections Division P.O. Box 12060 Austin, Texas 78711-2060 512.463.5650 or 1.800.252.VOTE (8683) Fax 512.475.2811 TTY 7.1.1

20 Questions about Accessibility? Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) (512) 478 - 3366 Email:

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