As Californians prepare to vote in the June 5 Presidential Primary Election, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen launched the state’s first online survey to help elections officials assess and address the needs of voters with disabilities.
“Voting is our most sacred right in a democracy and everyone should be able to exercise that right independently and privately,” said Secretary Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “While California elections officials offer many resources to voters with disabilities, I want to know if these voters are aware of all the options and services available to them, as well as whether they are encountering unnecessary challenges when voting.”
The Secretary of State’s office established the eight-member Statewide Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) in 2005 to provide guidance to elections officials serving voters with disabilities. Since then, the Secretary of State’s office updated 10-year-old polling place accessibility guidelines and provided training to county elections staff on the federal and state requirements for accessible polling places, all in collaboration with the VAAC and the California Department of Rehabilitation. Now the Secretary of State is asking voters with disabilities to participate in a
brief confidential survey
available through June 29. Survey results will help identify whether there is a need for more training, modified services, or enhanced outreach programs for voters with disabilities.