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Helping Nevadans with a disability vote

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:15 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Election day is just two weeks away and with this year being an unusual election year due to COVID-19, community agencies want to ensure voting is accessible for everyone including those with disabilities.

With federal laws in place to protect voters with disabilities, Dena Schmidt with Aging and Disability services breaks down Nevada laws for voters with disabilities.

“The voting rights of voters in Nevada include the right to vote in private, the right to have an accessible polling place, an accessible polling machine, and voting equipment for those who are visually impaired,” said Schmidt. “Polling places must allow individuals who can’t stand in line access to a separate line.”

Helping Voters with Disabilities
Helping Voters with Disabilities(KOLO)

Along with the Aging and Disability Services Division, Nevada’s statewide Independent Living Council, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, and the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities are working together to launch a voter informational video outlining all the guidelines.

“It’s been an exciting time, often times each of those groups make an effort but this was the first year that they came together to try and do a single video that could outreach to all people of disabilities and be inclusive so we’re super excited,” explained Schmidt.

“The video will include a certified deaf interpreter, an audio transcription, and a local consumer explaining information such as election dates, basic voting rights, how to cast your vote in various ways, information about inclusivity, disability resources, how to vote by mail and the absentee system as well as the use of alternative signatures.”

A new requirement this year in Nevada also allows voters to bring in a person of their choice to assist them with filling out their ballots.

“The feedback we’ve gotten so far from the disability community has been great,” added Schmidt. “They are anxious to participate in educating their peers and getting the information out and making sure of all the options so they can best pick the option that suits their needs.”

All voters with a disability have the right to vote privately and independently.

Schmidt said knowing your rights and options is the goal to make voting that much easier during this election.

“There’s so many options for voting this year, including early voting and voting by mail so we encourage anyone with underlying health conditions to take advantage of the early voting opportunities in Nevada,” Schmidt explained. "Often times these are less crowded situations especially in the COVID pandemic, it’s important people have the opportunity to get out and vote. "

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