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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 26, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 43
Democracy is for all
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Democracy is for all

Access Washington helps ensure that citizens with disabilities can vote

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On October 17, Steven Gilbert, a writer for the Washington Secretary of State's Office blog, 'From Our Corner,' announced the state's new voter accessibility project.

'The Secretary of State's passion is for equal access for all of our state's voters,' wrote Gilbert. 'That vision includes helping voters with disabilities.'

Access Washington is aimed at assisting voters with one or more disabilities to participate to the maximum extent they are able. The program is paid for by a federal grant through the Help America Vote Act.

'Thanks to this project, every county now has at least one site with special voting equipment called Accessible Voting Units (AVUs) for individuals with disabilities who can't use vote-by-mail paper ballots,' said Gilbert.

These special units give voters the ability to listen to the ballot choices with headphones, and they include a keypad helpful for voters with visual, cognitive, or learning disabilities. For people who use wheelchairs, the AVUs height can be adjusted, and most also have an insert device for people who use sip-and-puff auxiliary aids.

Washington state has an 18-day voting period starting on October 19, and AVUs are open now.

'Our Elections staff has been working to help launch the voters with disabilities page on the Secretary of State's website,' said Gilbert. 'The page provides thorough information on accessible voting units, voters' pamphlets, assistance with voting, and accessibility concerns along with additional information for voters with disabilities.'

For more information go to https://wei.sos.wa.gov/agency/osos/en/voters/Pages/voters_with_disabilities.aspx.

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