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Practice Run for Iowa Voters with Disabilities

October 28, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Election Day is one week away and, to improve voter participation by Iowans with disabilities, the "ID Action" project of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council (IDDC) hosts a one-day workshop today.

The purpose of the event is to acquaint people with current voting regulations, showing them the latest voting machines that will be in use this year, and helping people become more comfortable with the voting process. IDDC spokesman Rik Shannon says there will also be a mock election.

"Giving people the opportunity to learn more about elections, to practice working with a ballot or practice voting on the accessible Automark machine, is of a lot of value to people with disabilities."

Voter turnout in this group of Iowans shows real room for improvement. In 2000, Shannon points out, more than 60 percent of Iowans with disabilities that were eligible to vote did not vote.

"In 2004, we did make some gains - the number was up closer to 50 percent - although it's still well below the rate at which people without disabilities voted, in either of those two elections."

Shannon says candidates for county, state and federal offices will be attending the workshop. Iowa's Secretary of State will also be on hand to answer questions about voting rules and voting machines. The workshop begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Walnut Center, on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Dick Layman/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - IA