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Collin County Democrats with Disabilities, Disability Rights Texas Honored with a “Clearie” Award for Improving Voting Accessibility

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Nov 29, 2017

U.S. Election Assistance Commission National Award Commemorates Best Practices in Election Administration

Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that Collin County Democrats with Disabilities (CCDWD) and Disability Rights Texas have won a national competition recognizing best practices in election administration. CCDWD and Disability Rights Texas were selected for their work to make the voting process more accessible for voters with disabilities. Born of the commission’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the annual “Clearie” awards recognize outstanding innovations in election administration that can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions.

“These awards celebrate the very best in election practices across the nation,” said EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson. “As we travel throughout the country, our commission sees first-hand the innovation and commitment to excellence that election officials and their partners bring to their work. These awards acknowledge that work and highlight best practices that other election administrations can emulate.”

In 2016, CCDWD partnered with the Collin County, Texas elections office and a coalition of nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy groups to address potential accessibility issues at the polls for voters with disabilities. This included a curbside voting drive-by review to ensure if a voter was physically unable to enter a polling place, they could have a ballot brought to the entrance or to a car parked at the curbside. 

The goal of the review was for volunteers to find and fix any issues at voting sites early in the day. In total, 79 (34 early voting and 45 Election Day) vote centers were reviewed by the program. Later, CCDWD met with the Collin County Elections Office and recommended continuing the project during the 2017 and 2018 election cycles. CCDWD also recommended including disability representation on the county’s Election Board and including ADA requirements and discussions in election worker trainings.

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 ever-growing population of voters also faces educational, cultural and political barriers that can make participating in elections 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.

For more information about the “Clearies” or to speak with Chairman Masterson, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bsoder@eac.gov or 202-897-9285.

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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.  

Contact: Brenda Bowser Soder
Phone: 202-897-9285
 
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