The Help America Vote Act, which established the EAC, ensures that all voters with disabilities have the right to mark, cast, and verify their ballots privately and independently
Washington D.C. – Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In honor of this landmark act, U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chairwoman Christy McCormick, Vice Chairman Ben Hovland, Commissioner Donald Palmer, and Commissioner Thomas Hicks issued the following joint statement:
“On this anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we reflect upon the dedicated efforts of election officials who work to ensure that accessibility for voters with disabilities is a priority. In the 2022 midterms, these officials once again facilitated the voting process for Americans with disabilities, rising to the challenge and conducting an extremely well-run election.
From voter registration to casting of ballots and ensuring the accessibility of polling places, election officials kept accessibility at the forefront throughout each step of the voting process. The impact of their ongoing efforts to serve voters with disabilities must be recognized. Today, we applaud the outstanding 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.”
Building on extensive research efforts to assist voters with disabilities, the EAC’s recently released study, Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2022 Elections, included key information on voter access and participation. While study results indicate progress was made in many areas of assisting voters with disabilities in the midterms, persistent inadequacies remain.
Turnout of citizens with disabilities slightly increased from the 2018 midterms. However, of the 15.8 million citizens with disabilities who cast a ballot in 2022, 2.2 million encountered difficulties voting. This indicated a slight increase from previous findings. The agency intends to use these wide-ranging results to produce actionable items aimed at meeting the goals of the ADA and other vital voting laws.
In recent years, the EAC has taken additional steps to 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 voting issues, and expanding accessibility resources and programs.
As part of the EAC’s recognition of the ADA anniversary, Commissioner Hicks spoke with election officials from Dubuque County, Iowa, and Franklin County, Ohio, about their offices’ Clearinghouse Award-winning voter accessibility programs. The interview, ADA Anniversary: A Discussion with Clearinghouse Award Winners for Accessibility Programs, is available to watch on the EAC’s YouTube Channel.
The EAC will also release video training materials later this summer on best practices to assist voters with disabilities. The series of brief videos on accessibility and disability awareness will be a valuable resource for election officials and others invested in protecting voting accessibility.
These resources and more will be featured as part of the EAC’s Accessibility Language and Disability Public Meeting on September 6, 2023, in the agency’s hearing room in Washington, D.C.
For more information about the EAC’s efforts to assist voters with disabilities and the election officials who serve them, please visit www.eac.gov/voting-accessibility.
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. The 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.
EAC Contact: Kristen Muthig
Email: [email protected]