Grant to increase focus on access for voters with disabilities

The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities is pleased to announce an award of $30,000 to the State Board of Elections  to increase the accessibility of the voting process to citizens with disabilities and seniors.

Through this initiative, SBE will develop educational/outreach programs and materials designed to ensure that voters with disabilities and seniors are aware of their right to vote in person at the polls or by absentee ballot. The availability of the Annual Application process will be promoted as well. This process lessens the burden on the voter by reducing redundancy in some localities and offering automatic notification on registration for local, state, congressional, and presidential elections.

Donald Palmer, Secretary of Virginia State Board of Elections, said, “SBE is very excited to forge this partnership with VBPD aimed at increasing voter awareness and accessibility through education across the Commonwealth.”

As Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities Council, VBPD’s mission is “to create a Commonwealth that advances opportunities for independence, personal decision-making and full participation in community life for individuals with developmental and other disabilities.”

VBPD currently has a goal of improving participation of individuals with disabilities in civic and community activities. There is no greater civic right or responsibility than voting.

While state and federal laws require voting access, some individuals and seniors may not be aware of how to vote either in-person at an accessible location or through absentee ballot. Through this initiative, VBPD and SBE strive to educate voters, potential voters, and local registrars and their staff with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of individuals with disabilities and seniors who vote in the 2012 Presidential election or beyond.

“SBE has exhibited a strong commitment to improving access for voters with disabilities and seniors, and we are delighted to be able to help them expand these efforts,” stated Heidi Lawyer, VBPD Executive Director.


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