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WI Voters with Disabilities: Help Is Available

November 1, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Election day is Tuesday. While it has often been hard for people with disabilities to vote, Wisconsin has passed laws to help make it possible for every citizen to vote privately and independently, notes Alicia Boehme, an advocate with Disability Rights Wisconsin.

"Polling sites are required to be accessible. The Government Accountability Board has really taken this seriously over the past number of years and has really worked hard to try and ensure that all polling sites in Wisconsin are accessible."

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) operates a toll-free number from the time the polls open until they close, at 800-928-8778. Boehme says the line offers information to voters with disabilities about their correct polling place and many other topics.

"If someone is unable to get into their polling site, we'll be able to help with that as well. We're here to answer questions for the disability community about voting."

Every polling site in Wisconsin is required to have a voting machine designed for people with disabilities. Boehme encourages people without disabilities to use the machine, too; she says it's a really fun way to vote.

Voters with disabilities are Democrats, Republicans and Independents, she adds.

"People with disabilities vote on the issues, and they vote on issues that are important to folks in the community who don't have disabilities, like jobs and the economy."

The goal is to have everyone fully participate in the electoral process, she says.

The DRW toll-free assist number is 800-928-8778. The TTY number for voters with disabilities is 888-758-6049.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI