More than 800,000 Oregonians are living with a disability, and this week the attention is on making sure they have an opportunity to vote. It’s National Disability Voter Registration Week, and groups including Deaf People United and the Autism Society of Oregon are assisting with voter registration and voting efforts among the disability community. Esther Harlow, voting rights advocate for Disability Rights Oregon, said it’s an important week. “It’s making sure that everyone understands that people with disabilities have a right to vote in Oregon,” she said. “Regardless of whether they have a guardian, regardless of whether they can read their ballots, they still have that right to vote.”
Harlow said voters in Oregon have an easier time than in some other states because all ballots are cast by mail. However, she said, there’s still some concern that some ballot drops could be too high and therefore don’t meet standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
People might not realize that election officials are able to accommodate a voter with nearly any kind of disability, Harlow said. For example, every county in Oregon has tablet computers that can be delivered and used so a person can vote from the privacy of home.