FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Silver Spring, Md. – U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Matthew V. Masterson, Vice Chair Thomas Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick today issued a joint statement marking the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and noting the importance accessibility protections afforded voters as a result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The following statement marks the culmination of a month-long EAC effort to spotlight the importance of efforts to ensure accessible and independent voting for all Americans.
“The purpose of the ADA was to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the right to fully participate in all aspects of society. Congress passed HAVA to protect and advance the rights of all voters, including those with disabilities. All Americans should be provided the same opportunity for voting access and participation, including the right to vote privately and independently.
“The EAC is charged with providing leadership in the areas of voting system accessibility, outreach programs, training of election officials, poll workers and volunteers on how best to promote the access and participation of individuals with disabilities in Federal elections. We also establish voluntary voting system guidelines, test and certify voting systems and ensure the accessibility of those systems for individuals with disabilities. The EAC is committed to helping state and local election officials carry out elections that are both accessible and secure for all Americans, including those with disabilities.
“While the ADA and HAVA have expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and changing perceptions, as well as increasing full participation in community life activities such as elections and voting, the full promise of the ADA and HAVA will only be reached if we remain committed to continue our efforts to fully implement these Acts. On this 27th anniversary of the ADA, the EAC celebrates and recognizes the progress that has been made by reaffirming the principles of equality in voting and full accessibility. We also recommit ourselves to efforts to reach full ADA and HAVA compliance.”
Today’s joint statement details the important role HAVA has played in bringing the ADA’s full promise to life for U.S. voters. The EAC is focused on ensuring that voting systems are secure while allowing for the highest possible voter confidence and participation for voters with disabilities. This was a theme echoed throughout July as EAC sponsored content to support the second annual National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) and highlight advancements made since the ADA became law. In addition to today’s statement, the commission also:
- Hosted a July 18 streaming web event focused on initiatives that improve voting accessibility for veterans with disabilities, an issue that the EAC has consistently tackled through research and grant funding awards.
- Published an EAC blog series featuring a series of accessibility focused commentaries.
- Continue to distribute 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 a broad spectrum of voters with disabilities. The EAC has distributed thousands of these cards and continues to distribute them today.
- Featured “Fact Sheet: How the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Empowers Voters with Disabilities and the Election Officials who Serve Them,” which contains information about the commission’s commitment to ensuring the election process, polling places and voting services are accessible.
For more information about today’s statement or the EAC’s work to ensure accessible and independent voting for all Americans, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at [email protected].
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.