Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 17 – Mayor Pete Buttigieg called for equal voting access for people with disabilities at a town hall in Des Moines earlier this week. He also said it is important to ensure funding for the equal access.
“Part of our plan on disabilities is to make sure that we’re supporting ways for people with disabilities to have equal access to the vote, because you know, that’s 1 in 4 Americans,” the presidential hopeful said in response to a question about voters with disabilities – asked by a voter on the autism spectrum. “And those who don’t face disabilities might in the future, so we all have a stake in doing something about it… And we need to put funding behind it.”
The disability community is one of the most at-risk groups for being disenfranchised from the voting system. Accessibility in voting places should be enforced through the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Enacted shortly after the voting crisis during the 2000 election, HAVA is designed to ensure that states meet voting standards of the 21st century. However, HAVA is loosely enforced. States and local election boards often do not meet the standards outlined within the act. In fact, a study by the Government Accountability Office inspected 137 polling places on Election Day in 2016 and found that roughly two-thirds of them had at least one error in accessibility.
Previously, Mayor Buttigieg responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to all of the major presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report.
Read Full Transcript:
Eric Ascher: What about the voters with disabilities?
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Thanks for being here. Really important. Part of our plan on disabilities is to make sure that we’re supporting ways for people with disabilities to have equal access to the vote, because you know, that’s 1 in 4 Americans. And those who don’t face disabilities might in the future, so we all have a stake in doing something about it.
Eric Ascher: Thank you very much.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: And we need to put funding behind it.
Eric Ascher: Yeah.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Thanks.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.