For Immediate Release
July 26, 2021
Washington D.C. – Today marks the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In recognition of this landmark act, U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chairman Donald Palmer, Vice Chair Thomas Hicks, Commissioner Christy McCormick, and Commissioner Ben Hovland issue the following joint statement:
"On this anniversary of the ADA, we reflect upon the hard work of election officials who ensured accessibility was a top priority in 2020. Despite record high turnout and the challenges of the pandemic, millions of voters with disabilities faced fewer barriers and were able to cast their ballot more freely and independently than in previous elections. Along with other promising findings about the narrowing gap in participation throughout the electoral process, the EAC’s recent study, Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2020 Elections, found that voting difficulties among people with disabilities declined markedly from 2012 to 2020. The impact and ongoing efforts of election officials to serve voters with disabilities is evident.
The EAC is committed to continuing our support of election officials as they strive to fulfill the requirements of both the ADA and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). We have taken steps to better serve voters with disabilities by hiring a full-time subject matter expert for accessibility, establishing an internal accessibility working group, continuing EAC research on disability related issues, and expanding our accessibility resources and programs.
We applaud the extraordinary efforts of election officials but also recognize there is more to be done. We look forward to continuing to help officials serve voters with disabilities as we work together to meet the promise of a private and independent vote for all Americans."
For more information about the EAC’s efforts to assist voters with disabilities and the election officials who serve them, please visit the following links:
- www.eac.gov – Visit the EAC’s Voting Accessibility page for resources and tools designed to serve voters with disabilities and the election officials who serve them.
- EAC and Rutgers Study on Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2020 Elections
- EAC Clearinghouse Awards for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities – This competition, started in 2018, celebrates innovative accessibility efforts across the country. 2020 winners for this category include the Iowa Secretary of State, Los Angeles County, CA Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, West Virginia Secretary of State and Wisconsin Elections Commission.
- The EAC Voting Rights Card - This resource, also available in pocket size, is designed to help voters with disabilities at the polls. Braille and large print versions are available to assist voters who are visually impaired and blind. The card is written in plain language and includes a QR code for those who have other needs. The EAC has distributed thousands of these cards and continues to provide them today.
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: Kristen Muthig