FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Annual Clearinghouse “Clearie” Awards Recognize Outstanding Innovations in Elections, and Best Practices in Accessibility and Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers
Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that the Merced County Registrar of Voters Office (California) was a recipient of a 2019 Clearinghouse “Clearie” Award for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities. The Registrar’s Office received the award for utilizing their new Multilingual Virtual Poll Worker Program (MVP) to assist voters who are deaf by providing a direct iPad-based connection to American Sign Language interpreters.
Born of the EAC’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the annual “Clearie” awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models which can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions.
“Presidential election years present unique challenges for election officials and voting has already begun in the Nation’s first primary," said EAC Chairwoman Christy McCormick. "We are excited to announce the Clearie awards to recognize election officials across the country who did exceptional work to improve accessibility in 2019, while they buckle down for a busy election year. The recipients of these awards displayed ingenuity and creativity in their service to voters with disabilities and election workers, and they are outstanding examples for other election administrators. On behalf of myself and my three fellow Commissioners, I congratulate their achievements and look forward to seeing their contributions from 2019 continue in the 2020 elections and beyond."
In an effort to make the voting process accessible and inclusive to all Merced County voters, a planning and research effort resulted in the adoption of the new county-wide MVP system. The convenience of using an app-based program on user-friendly iPads made the integration of the new service seamless at polling places. The MVP may also be used to provide interpreters for dozens of languages.
Now in its fourth year, the “Clearie” awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s creation of positive results, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness and replicability.
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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.