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President makes accessible voting a priority

Many people in New York know from firsthand experience the challenges that many voting sites present to those who live with disabilities. Staff members are not always helpful -- or don't understand how to help -- voting technology isn't easy for everyone, and some voting sites are simply inaccessible. Fortunately, it seems like something will soon be done to fix these problems.

A bipartisan panel appointed by President Obama created a series of recommendations recently to ensure that people with disabilities are able to vote with ease. Although they called the recommendations "common sense," they hope that officials at all levels will take implementing them in their jurisdictions seriously.

One of the most important recommendations made by the panel is having election judges focus heavily on the needs of disabled voters. This involves training election officials and other poll workers on how to interact with and assist voters who have varying disabilities. Additionally, all polling sites should be outfitted with a checklist so election officials can make sure their sites are in compliance with the latest recommendations.

Along with addressing the physical voting sites, the panel also recommended making early voting options more readily available as well as broadening opportunities for online voter registration.

Voting is an extremely important part of contributing to and participating in discussions that affect your community, state and country. Unfortunately, it is very difficult -- and sometimes impossible -- for people who live with certain disabilities to vote. Hopefully the recommendations provided by the presidential panel will help ensure that everyone in New York and elsewhere is able to vote with ease.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Presidential Panel Calls For Improved Voting Accessibility," Shaun Heasley, Jan. 24, 2014

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