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April 30, 2019Advocacy Matters

Listen to Advocacy Matters: Voting Reform Bills

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

April 30, 2019

#AdvocacyMatters Segment

Today the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee is holding a hearing on a series of voting reform bills that would expand access to voting in Pennsylvania. Disability Rights Pennsylvania is testifying at the hearing to share perspective from the disability community.

The series of bills includes proposals to expand access to absentee ballots by creating a permanent absentee ballot list and allowing all voters to vote by absentee ballot if they choose. These are important steps for the disability community because it makes it easier for individuals with disabilities to vote absentee ballot if they choose.

There is also a proposal to allow curbside voting. DRP will be testifying about a number of concerns that we have on this proposal. While we support increasing the ways that people can vote and reducing barriers to voting, DRP is concerned about towns using curbside voting in lieu of ensuring physical accessibility at polling places.

If municipalities focus on curbside voting as the main method for people with disabilities to vote, it will deny people equal access to voting. As long as polling places remain inaccessible, people with disabilities will not have equal access to the polls.

Voting is one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy and ensuring equal access to voting and the polls is crucial for the disability community. Much progress has been made, but there is still more work to do.

People with disabilities vote. More want to vote by run into transportation barriers, accessibility barriers, or voting machine problems.

#AdvocacyMatters and we are grateful to raise disability concerns on this package of bills that focus on election reform.