A effort to register more disabled citizens to vote and improve their access to the election process is under way in Washington State, through the Kittitas County Auditor's Office and the nonprofit Central Washington Disability Resources.
Paying for the educational outreach to county disabled residents is a $49,950 grant from the federal Help America Vote Act, administered by the Secretary of State's office.
Gretchen Thatcher, voter outreach coordinator and independent living specialist with the Central Washington Disability Resources, said a variety of meetings, luncheons, workshops and community gatherings are planned. The goal is to contact the disabled of all ages, whether they struggle with sight, hearing, physical mobility, cognitive or learning disabilities.
"We're trying to reach citizens who have had difficulty in the past accessing and participating in the voting process," Thatcher said.
Gatherings will be at local assisted living centers, low-income, subsidized housing locations, senior citizen centers, the state WorkSource job office and others. The first of such gatherings was conducted Friday at noon at the Hal Holmes Center.
Citizens will be able to register to vote at the meetings, learn about the local election process as well as check out one of the auditor's disability voting access units. The electronic units are designed to allow disabled voters to make voting choices no matter what disability they have. Read more.