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Voting With Disabilities: The Barriers People Face

Gov. Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs are locked in a disagreement over election procedures to help some voters register and cast their ballots.

Hobbs sought changes to primarily reach people in long-term care facilities with virtual special election boards. Those boards are composed of one Democrat and one Republican who help a voter fill out their ballot. Typically, this is done in-person, but with the pandemic, Hobbs wants the boards to be able to assist virtually if they need to.

The governor disagrees.

At a recent press conference, Ducey broadly assured access to voting for all — nonetheless.

“Listen, I want everyone to vote. I want every eligible voter to vote. I want everyone in a long-term care facility to vote," Ducey said. "And we’re going to find a safe way for these election boards — this is already set to be inside these long-term care facilities, so that they can vote. No one is going to be disenfranchised.”

But people with disabilities who may need accommodations to exercise their rights have long faced challenges when it comes to voting, and advocates fear voting could be even more difficult because of the pandemic.

Arden Day is a senior research associate at Northern Arizona University, and she co-authored a study that looked at the barriers people with disabilities face.

The Show spoke with Day, who said voting access for people with disabilities has never been easy.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.