DRC Supports Governor Newsom’s Executive Order to Ensure California’s 2020 Election Is Safe and Accessible and Calls for Further Action from Legislation and County Officials

Press Release
Several people at a voting booth

(Sacramento, CA) Disability Rights California supports the Executive Order Governor Gavin Newsom released yesterday, which requires a minimum number of in-person voting options and ballot drop-off locations to registered voters in the weeks and days leading up to the November election. This will provide access to accessible voting machines, which many voters with disabilities need in order to vote privately and independently.

Yesterday’s Executive Order expands on the May 8th Executive Order, reiterating access to in-person voting opportunities and now requires counties to provide at least one polling place per 10,000 registered voters starting on the Saturday before November 3rd’s Tuesday election.

We note, however, the lack in yesterday’s Order of an explicit requirement providing more than one accessible voting machine at each location or meet physical accessibility requirements. Although requiring in-person voting locations is a welcomed additional step, counties must also ensure that California voters with disabilities can physically access and receive critical in-person voting services at every location. California lawmakers should also ensure voters have opportunities to submit feedback on counties’ election administration plans.

We therefore call on County Election Officials to adopt the requirements set forth in yesterday’s Order. We also call on the State Legislature to work together and take swift action to pass legislation enshrining these changes for the November Election—and to appropriate the funds necessary to implement them.

 

“Disability Rights California appreciates Governor Newsom’s leadership in setting out additional changes that will make November’s election safe and accessible for all voters. In-person voting is important for people with disabilities who need to use an accessible voting machine or have difficulty with vote-by-mail ballots. We support the minimum amount of required voting locations set out in yesterday’s Executive Order, but all voting locations for November should also be physically accessible as defined by the Secretary of State’s Polling Place Accessibility Checklist. Currently, state law allows the limited use of inaccessible places in limited circumstances. With substantially less in-person voting locations, a voter with a disability may have to travel much farther to an accessible voting location,” said Fred Nisen, Supervising Attorney for Voting Rights, Disability Rights California.

Media Contacts:

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
Disability Rights California
916-504-5938
Melody.Pomraning@disabilityrightsca.org

 

 

Disability Rights California (DRC)

Is the agency designated under federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of DRC is to advance the rights, dignity, equal opportunities, and choices for all people with disabilities. For more information visit www.disabilityrightsca.org.