Tempe’s upcoming election will be an all mail-in election, but some worry that as cities and school districts increasingly move to postal voting, homeless people and those with certain disabilities could be disenfranchised. All Maricopa County school districts opted to have voters cast ballots by mail last fall. Cities including Tempe, Fountain Hills, Queen Creek and Surprise are pursuing mail-in ballots this year. Renaldo Fowler of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, along with the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, are among those working to ensure voting by mail doesn’t leave some people out. They’ve been working to educate Arizona’s homeless population on how they can still vote without a home address. And to educate voters with visual impairments and other disabilities that special ballots can be requested, such as large print or braille.
“We are a voting block that needs to be addressed,” said George Garcia, executive director at the Southwest Institute for Families and Children, a nonprofit focused on empowering people with disabilities.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, an advocate of mail-in elections, sees it as “opening up the ballot box” by giving voters more time to make decisions and more options in where to drop off their ballots. He said it’s also more secure.
Fontes is working with groups such as Garcia’s to ensure at-risk voters aren’t left out. “Ballot by mail is not a silver bullet,” Fontes said, adding that it is “important to realize the only thing that is constant in American elections is change.”
Full Article: How all-mail elections impact homeless and disabled voters.