Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Monday launched the state’s first Get out the Disability Vote Week to bring attention to accessible voting information and ballots to the disability community and encourage them to participate in the upcoming General Election and learn how a ballot is counted.
The state also took note of National Disability Voter Registration Week July 11-15.
Twelve county election departments are also participating in the event (Cowlitz, Island, Chelan, Jefferson, Kittitas, Thurston, Pierce, Franklin, Clark, King, Mason and Clallam) and all counties are ready with assistance and encouragement for voters living with disabilities, said state Elections Director Lori Augino.
Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said the celebration is in keeping with outreach the state and counties do to language minorities, those with vision difficulties, Millennials and traditionally underrepresented populations. She added:
“We are delighted to recognize and promote Get out the Disability Vote Week and encourage everyone to take part in this important election. The privilege and right to vote is the great foundation of our democracy, and all voices are welcome and needed.”
Based on the US Census survey:
- 782,644 or 15% of the voting age population have at least one disability
- 52% of those with a disability have an ambulatory disability (walking)
- 16% of those with a disability have a vision disability
- Every county is required to have a Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) where members of the community can advise the county elections department to ensure that elections are accessible to all voters. DACs have suggested drop box locations, outreach events and materials, and improvements to voting centers in all 39 counties.
- Every county is required to have at least one Accessible Voting Unit available in each of its Voting Centers.
- Many counties have an online ballot that is accessible to voters using assistive technology that they can use to vote and return their ballot.
- The State Voters’ Pamphlet is available in text, audio, and accessible HTML. Voters can also subscribe to a mailing list to receive the audio version on a CD or USB drive by mail. Members of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library receive the audio version on an audio book compatible with their audio book player.
- MyVote was designed and independently tested to meet and exceed Americans with Disabilities Act Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Level AA.