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Cache Valley Election Division Awarded For Accessibility

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The Disability Law Center, designated by the governor to implement advocacy programs for people with disabilities, presented the Cache County Clerk’s Office Election Division with an award Tuesday after the division took significant measures to improve voting access.

Sheri Newton, voting access director for the center said Cache County took advantage of federal grants to make changes to polling location accessibility and helped make an engaging sample ballot for voters, earning them the 2014 Partner Award.

Newton said accessibility includes informing individuals of their voting rights, creating awareness of voter registration and making sure physical spaces for voting are accessible.

“Things that you run in to that might be problematic are things like no accessible parking spaces or ramps that are nonexistent or don’t work, [not having] handrails when there should be handrails for people and hardware on doors,” Newton said.

Newton said the state is making strides in the area of disability access after the legislature passed a statute this year allowing people with disabilities to vote via the internet. However, she said the state has some room to grow, as 35 percent of polling stations are still not accessible.

“That’s something we have concern about, especially when there is ample federal money available to improve accessibility at buildings,” Newton said.

Making available magnifying sheets, seat-height ballots and pencil grips can also help with voting accessibility, according to Newton.