FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 17, 2017
Silver Spring, Md. – As the second annual National Disability Voter Registration (NDVRW) Week kicks off today, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is praising this and other efforts to ensure accessible and independent voting for all Americans.
From July 17-21, local, state, and national disability organizations are coming together with disability rights advocates, civil rights organizations, elections administrators and other allies to increase nonpartisan voter registration, education and participation in the disability community. NDVRW is organized by the REV Up Campaign, which was founded last year and stands for “Register! Educate! Vote! Use Your Power!” The week’s events include nationwide efforts to empower people with disabilities of all ages, ethnicities, genders, religions and political affiliations to get involved and be heard by registering to vote, updating active registrations and educating themselves about the electoral process.
“At the core of the EAC’s mission is a commitment to ensure that elections are accessible to all eligible voters and that these Americans have the opportunity to vote independently,” said EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson. “Democracy is at its best when it’s shaped by all Americans. We applaud the REV Up Campaign’s efforts to empower people with disabilities to register to vote, to help this community better understand their voting rights and to encourage them to vote in each election. ”
More than 35 million Americans with disabilities, roughly one-sixth of the total electorate, are eligible to vote in the United States. This accounts for a broad range of disabilities, including mobility, communicative, physical and cognitive impairments. This population of voters also faces educational, cultural and political barriers that can make participating in elections even more difficult. The EAC has a strong commitment to working with both election officials and voters with disabilities to ensure that the election process, polling places and voting service are accessible.
Those efforts continue this month with a planned July 18 streaming web event focused on initiatives that improve voting accessibility for veterans with disabilities. The online event, scheduled to coincide with NDVRW and the 27th anniversary month of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is part of the EAC’s #GamePlan17 work. It will feature EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson, Iowa Deputy Secretary of State Michael Ross, Paralyzed Veterans of America Senior Associate Director of Advocacy Lee Page, Virginia’s Department of Elections Absentee and Disabilities Coordinator Terry Wagoner, Bipartisan Policy Center Fellow Donald Palmer, and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Vice President Daniel Castro. In addition to this event, the EAC is featuring a number of key accessibility-related resources this month, including:
- Throughout July, the EAC Blog is featuring a series of accessibility focused blogs.
- The EAC voting rights card designed to assist voters with disabilities at the polls. It is available in pocket size, as well as braille and large print to assist voters who are visually impaired and blind. The EAC has distributed thousands of these cards and continues to distribute them today.
- “Fact Sheet: How the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Empowers Voters with Disabilities and the Election Officials who Serve Them” is available online and contains information about the commission’s commitment to ensuring the election process, polling places and voting services are accessible.
Click here for more information about NDVRW. To learn more about the EAC’s voter accessibility work or to speak with Chairman Masterson, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at email@example.com or 202-897-9285.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.