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TN Voters With Disabilities Urged To Plan Ahead For Election Day

November 3, 2008

Nashville, TN - With just one day left before the election, advocates are advising people with disabilities to call their county election office to check on accessibility and to request assistance if they need it. Those with visual impairments should ask for an online sample ballot in an appropriate text format - something that may not available in all counties, according to Kate Georgen with the Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Middle Tennessee.

"They've encountered some difficulty being able to review a ballot before they go into a polling place where they know they'll have to listen to the auditory aide to that ballot."

Georgen says early voting has turned up challenges for people with disabilities. She says signage using offensive and outdated language regarding disabilities has been reported, and some poll workers were not properly trained.

"We've heard from callers about effective communication issues at polling sites for voters who communicate in different ways other than spoken English."

Georgen says out of the 95 counties, only 38 actually have websites running. She says people with disabilities who call the Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Middle Tennessee hotline will receive assistance in getting the correct sample ballot, as well as getting any other kind of help they need to get to the polls.

The Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Middle Tennessee toll-free Election Day hotline is 800-287-9636.

Barbara Dab/Steve Powers, Public News Service - TN