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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Iowans with Disabilities Encouraged to Register to Vote

Iowans with disabilities are being encouraged to register to vote this week, during National Disability Voter Registration Week. (IDaction.org)
Iowans with disabilities are being encouraged to register to vote this week, during National Disability Voter Registration Week. (IDaction.org)
July 13, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa - To improve voter turnout among people with disabilities, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council says people should get registered now, during National Disability Voter Registration Week.

The voter turnout rate in the 2012 presidential election was more than 6 percent lower among people with disabilities than for the general population in Iowa, according to a Rutgers University study. Rik Shannon, project manager for the group Iowans with Disabilities in Action, said that, this year, that can change.

"This is an opportunity to begin addressing that disparity," he said. "As we know, people aren't able to vote if they're not registered to vote. So, this is a first step toward ensuring that people with disabilities turn out to the polls in November."

Voter registration applications can be found online at sos.iowa.gov, at county auditors' offices, driver's license stations, Department of Human Services offices and other state agencies serving people with disabilities.

Even though there are alternatives to registering early online or by mail, Shannon said, it's better to take care of it now.

"In Iowa, we even allow same-day voter registration, meaning you can register at the polling place, although that does introduce a few additional complications, when it comes to proving who you are and where you live," he said. "So, we really encourage people to get registered early."

While this election year is largely about voting for a new president, he said, other important issues are at stake for people with disabilities.

"There certainly is interest in publicly funded programs that often support people with disabilities to live independently," he said.

Registered voters who have moved since the last election will need to fill out a new voter registration form to be eligible in November. For questions about people with disabilities and voter registration, look online at IDaction.org.

More information about National Disability Voter Registration Week is online at disability.gov.

Bob Kessler, Public News Service - IA