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SLO County Clerk - Recorder seeks grant to increase voter accessibility

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The group Access for All (AfA) and the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder are teaming up to try to improve voter access for seniors and people with disabilities.

The two organizations together have submitted a grant proposal for funding under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The $126,000 requested from the grant would be used to increase polling place accessibility, to train election workers, to increased access to voter information, and provide alternative voting opportunities, Karl Winkler, an AfA participant, said.

“Every polling place has wheelchair accessibility, but other barriers still exist and our goal is to eliminate them,” said Mark Shaffer, an AfA participant and executive director of United Cerebral Palsy.

The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office has already been active in improving access for all voters. Voters with visual disabilities can receive audiotapes of candidate statements, ballot measures, and state propositions. Also, Auto-mark machines, which use a touch screen, help those who have difficulty filling out a ballot with their hands. The county also provides outreach to assisted living and senior housing facilities to ensure voters are registered and able to vote by mail, County Clerk Recorder Julie Rodewald said.

“Now, we need to focus on outreach and letting people know the services we have,” she said.

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