Voter Education and Outreach
DRW is working to increase participation by people with disabilities in the electoral process, and improve that accessibility of voting for all. With the right to vote comes the power to make things change. Issues that affect people with disabilities will get more attention from elected leaders if more people with disabilities exercise that right.
In recent years, DRW staff and volunteers have visited each of Washington’s 39 county election offices and polling places repeatedly to identify and eliminate barriers to voting. DRW has worked closely with the Elections Division of the Secretary of State to improve election access. DRW was a leader in passing a bill that requires each county to create an advisory committee made up of people with disabilities to assist officials in making elections more accessible. DRW has since worked to assist counties in developing disability advisory committees, and planning improvements. DRW offers self-information on voting.
Secretary of State created an accessibility coordinator to assist counties in improving election accessibility
Milestone: July and November 2010
DRW visited each county election office during early and general election periods. DRW collected information on accessibility of everything from walkways, doors, elevators, parking lots to accessible voting units and the election office voicemail and website. Data collected has been shared with the Secretary of State, county auditors, election supervisors, and county disability advisory committees to promote effective accessible voting practices, and help identify areas that need improvement. A letter with "best practices" and recommendations regarding 1) providing information about the election for voters with disabilities, 2) improving accessibility, and 3) voter participation was sent to each election official across the state. DRW's letters to each county [PDFs] are provided below:
DRW surveys accessibility of county election offices and practices. While barriers remain in some areas, substantial improvements in many counties are noted.
Secretary of State appointed two persons with disabilities to committee providing advice on spending of federal money on election improvements, and made improvements in accessibility a high priority. DRW surveys accessibility of county election offices and practices. While barriers remain in some areas, substantial improvements in many counties are noted.
Legislation passes requiring counties to create disability advisory committees, and to develop a plan for improving the accessibility of elections for people with disabilities.
DRW partners with Centers for Independence to survey accessibility of polling places. DRW leads successful effort to expand voting rights for people with guardianships.