[Nfbc-info] Secretary of state launches survey to assess needs of voters with disabilities

ckrugman at sbcglobal.net ckrugman at sbcglobal.net
Thu May 17 22:39:44 UTC 2012

May 16, 2012 (916) 653-6575 
Secretary Bowen Launches Survey to 
    Assess Needs of Voters with Disabilities 
SACRAMENTO - 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 at 
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. 
Following are key resources that are available to California voters with disabilities. 
Large-Print and Audio Formats: Official ballots and the Secretary of State's Voter 
Information Guide are available in alternate formats for voters with visual disabilities. For more 
information about large-print or audio formats of ballots in a specific precinct, voters should 
contact their county elections offices or, at the polling place on Election Day, ask a poll worker 
for more information about using a special voting machine. To download the MP3 audio version 
or the large-print version of the Secretary of State's Voter Information Guide, go to 
The Secretary of State also takes phone orders for state 
voter guides, which are available in 10 languages (see below for phone numbers). 
Polling Place Accessibility: State and federal laws require polling places to be physically 
accessible to voters with disabilities, and every person who works in a polling place on Election 
Day is there to ensure voters' rights are protected. In California, each polling place has at least 
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May 16, 2012 
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one voting machine that allows voters, including those with disabilities, to cast a ballot without 
assistance. California law also permits up to two people of a voter's choice, excluding the voter's 
employer or union representative, to assist in marking the ballot. If a voter cannot come into the 
polling place, "curbside voting" is an option in which a poll worker carries a ballot outside the 
polling place to the voter. 
Voting by Mail: Any California voter may vote in the comfort of home by asking to vote by 
mail. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the state primary election is May 29. A 
registered voter may request a ballot by using the application printed on the back of the sample 
ballot booklet (mailed to the voter by the county elections office) or the uniform application 
available at 
Voter Hotlines: The Secretary of State offers phone assistance to voters in 10 languages and 
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD): 
English (800) 345-VOTE (8683) 
Spanish (800) 232-VOTA (8682) 
Chinese (800) 339-2857 
Hindi (800) 345-2692 
Japanese (800) 339-2865 
Khmer (888) 345-4917 
Korean (866) 575-1558 
Tagalog (800) 339-2957 
Thai (855) 345-3933 
Vietnamese (800) 339-8163 
TDD (800) 833-8683 
For more information on how voters with disabilities can vote privately and independently, go to 
Keep up with the latest California election news and trivia by following @CASOSvote on 
Twitter. To subscribe to state election news via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to 

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