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PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2920 


Trailing Biden in Nevada, Trump holds a jam-packed Carson City rally. And with COVID a major election issue, hospitals help patients register to vote.


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Litigation is ongoing on ballot receipt deadlines, witness signatures and drop boxes. And early voting starts in a dozen states this week.

Advocates for Iowans with Disabilities Waste No Time on Election Prep

Iowa's secretary of state has worked with advocates to reach out to people with disabilities, reminding them of the options they have in voting during a pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
Iowa's secretary of state has worked with advocates to reach out to people with disabilities, reminding them of the options they have in voting during a pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
August 27, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The calendar still says August, but given the many challenges 2020 has seen, those doing outreach efforts ahead of the fall election say time is not a luxury.

That sentiment is being expressed by a key Iowa group that assists residents with disabilities.

In Iowa, Oct. 24 is a key deadline for registering to vote and to request an absentee ballot.

Bill Kallestad, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said because of the pandemic and the vulnerability of their members, they're encouraging them to vote absentee this fall.

And for those who still want to head to the polls on Election Day, they're reminding them of the safest ways to do so, such as curbside voting.

"And so those are kind of on top of our mind, with the safety and the health that they know they have options," Kallestad said.

Absentee voting is expected to be popular again as it was during Iowa's primary, when some 500,000 voters used that option.

But there's heightened concern over postal delays. Also, the Iowa Secretary of State has advised county auditors state law places limits on the use of drop boxes.

Advocates say that's why acting sooner, and asking for help, can ensure those with disabilities will have their voices heard in the election.

Kallestad said with a lot of political rhetoric surrounding voting methods, they've had to navigate all the debate to ensure their members don't fall prey to bad information and skip the election out of fear.

"There's some good information out there, and there's some not always accurate information out there," Kallestad said. "And as that kind of built, we didn't want them walking away thinking it was going to be more difficult for them to vote."

Iowans with disabilities have voiced concerns over voting barriers in the past, including in the state's high-profile presidential caucuses, where logistical issues and crowded rooms were among the issues highlighted in 2016 and 2020.

Disclosure: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Health Issues, and Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA