The state sets an example by helping people with disabilities vote

It is worrying that in a country reputed to be the ideal democracy, attacks on the right to vote of people with disabilities are met with indifference.

An oft-cited 2016 report by the US Government Accountability Office found that more than half of polling places posed one or more barriers to a person with a disability. Obstacles ranged from narrow entrances and steep ramps to inaccessible ballot-marking machines that were too outdated to support text-to-speech software.

Calls for change, however, yielded an answer every time: asking the disabled to get someone else to vote for them. Call it negligent or blatantly disabled, but forced assistance denies people with disabilities the right to vote privately and independently.

So when proposals at the federal level to improve voting rights are cornered by political divisions, states like Illinois have taken matters into their own hands. I commend Governor JB Pritzker for signing into law SB 829 on May 13, directing the Illinois State Board of Elections to build an accessible, remote email voting system that enables voters with disabilities to receive and submit their ballots electronically.

The Illinois SBE has implemented an electronic system for the June 2022 elections, and SB 829 will continue to enforce this standard for all elections thereafter. At a time when other states have pledged to pass measures to restrict the right to vote, I commend Illinois for leading by example.

Dhruv Patel

Elk Grove Village

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