ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Those who monitor voting access for people with disabilities say Minnesota generally does a good job on the issue, but the state's is not without challenges.
Minnesota Council on Disability ADA Director David Fenley says while barriers still persist, Minnesota provides good general access for voters with different disabilities. Polling stations are equipped with an accessible voting machine for people with vision impairments, with many counties using an electronic ballot marker machine called AutoMARK.
“Just say, ‘Hey, where’s your AutoMARK? I need an accessible voting machine,’ ” he advised.
The executive director at a new Minnesota-based organization called Able to Vote, Grace Gouker Littlefield, is working to connect people with voting resources. Littlefield said she wants to see more disabled voters like herself with equal access across the country — starting in her own backyard this fall, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
A chat feature on the Able to Vote website connects staff to people who need assistance finding transportation to the polls, coming up with a voting plan or reporting an accessibility barrier.
“Just understand that the lives of people with disabilities can be very complex,” Littlefield said. “And this process should not be political, even though people are voting for political offices, sometimes. The process should be that in order to have the most flourishing democracy possible, one where everyone’s views are represented to their fullest capacity, everybody should be working together to make voting accessible.”