As National Disability Voter Registration Week ended on Friday, advocates for people with disabilities in Illinois are asking election officials to make polling places accessible for all.
With the presidential elections coming up in November, the focus this past week was on making sure voters with disabilities get an equal opportunity to vote. More than 10% of Illinoisans live with a disability. According to Cheryl Jansen, of advocacy group Equip for Equality, because of problems with accessibility at polling places, they are underrepresented at the polls.
“The physical inaccessibility of polling places and equipment,” Jansen says. “There have also been problems with discriminatory practices and attitudes of poll workers and election officials, guardians and caretakers.”
Advocates are urging Illinois election officials to seriously consider accessibility issues to change that trend.
Changes made by both Federal and State protections is helping to making polling places accessible. Voters can now use same-day and mail-in voting processes. Illinois voters can request vote-by-mail applications beginning August 10th.