Paralyzed Veterans of America launches “Access Your Vote,” a campaign to help Americans with disabilities plan ahead to ensure they are able to vote safely and independently during the upcoming presidential election.
Voting tends to be difficult for people with disabilities, and could be even more so in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, according to PVA in a media release.
A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office about voters with disabilities, released on November 2, 2017, suggests that fewer than half of polling locations were accessible during the 2016 presidential election. This year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, things could become even more difficult for voters with disabilities, due to added cleaning and distancing protocols, longer waits, fewer polling locations and the risk of exposure to the virus.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires state and local governments to ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to all government-provided services, programs and activities, including the opportunity to vote. However, PVA members have reported barriers to voting in previous elections such as inaccessible sidewalks, insufficient accessible parking and long lines.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Problems
With all of this in mind, PVA launched “Access Your Vote” to help voters with disabilities plan how they are going to vote to avoid problems during this election year.
“Voting is an important civil right that our veterans have fought to protect. It should be accessible and safe for everyone, including those with disabilities, and PVA is making sure that happens. It’s especially important to help voters make a voting plan in a year that’s complicated by a pandemic.”
— David Zurfluh, US Air Force veteran and Paralyzed Veterans of America national president
PVA urges all Americans, especially those with disabilities, to make an individual voting plan now by visiting its website, where they can find state-specific information, early voting guidelines, and a checklist for creating an individual plan.
“People with disabilities absolutely need access to their polls. This is a community of over 60 million Americans, and the only way to ensure our needs are met is to make sure we can cast our votes with reasonable accommodations safely and securely in all 50 states.”
— David Zurfluh
For those who wish to vote in-person, PVA recommends that they visit their polling place ahead of time so there’s time to report potential problems to local officials.
[Source(s): Paralyzed Veterans of America, PR Newswire]