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Health News Florida

Disability Advocates Encourage Poll Workers To Ask Voters If They Want To Use Accessible Machine

A polling place worker adjusts gloves as she tends to a reception table during the Florida primary election at the First United Methodist Church, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. As Florida officials try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state's voters headed to the polls to cast ballots in the Democratic presidential primary.
A polling place worker adjusts gloves as she tends to a reception table during the Florida primary election at the First United Methodist Church, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. As Florida officials try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state's voters headed to the polls to cast ballots in the Democratic presidential primary.

Disability advocates want poll workers to ask everyone if they wish to use an accessible voting machine. The idea is to decrease stigma around disabilities and make the voting process more inclusive. Traditionally, if a person needed an accessible machine, they would have to ask for it.

"The more integrated the voting process is for all voters, the better experience voters with disabilities are having. The more we kind of separate out how people vote—and there's that option for folks who can go and hand mark and some folks use the machine—that's where we start to see a little bit of a breakdown. Right? The equipment isn't being maintained as well. Poll workers aren't as prepared," National Disability Rights Network's Michelle Bishop says.

She says there have been problems in the past with poll workers not knowing how to set up accessible machines. She hopes getting them more acquainted with the technology will lead the way for more people who need them to use them.

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