Secretary Benson and advocates discuss voter accessibility

Ready for November Video SeriesOCTOBER 9, 2020

Fifth "Ready for November" episode focuses on
ensuring every voice is heard

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson interviews four leaders who advocate for the rights of others in the fifth episode of Ready for November, a video series Benson’s office launched last month to inform voters ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

Joining Benson for the “Voter Accessibility – Ensuring Every Voice is Heard” discussion were Annie Urasky, director of the Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights; Pat Cannon, retired former director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind; Kamilia Landrum, executive director of the Detroit NAACP; and Rebeka Islam, executive director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) Michigan and a member of Benson’s Language Access Task Force.

“Voters have the right to vote at home or in person and my office is working with clerks across the state to remove any barriers and ensure voting is an easy, enjoyable experience for everyone,” Secretary Benson said.

Among the points discussed:

  • The accessible absent voter ballot is available at Michigan.gov/Vote to blind voters and others with disabilities that would otherwise prevent them from voting absentee ballots privately and independently.
     
  • Voter assist terminals will be available in every polling place that any voter, including those with disabilities, can use. VATs are a ballot-marking device with a screen and an adaptability port that works with different personal adaptives and allows voters to independently vote a ballot in privacy.
     
  • Poll workers will have clear face shields that may be used instead of cloth masks when communicating with someone who is deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication.
     
  • All voters can vote early in their clerk’s office but should call ahead to confirm hours and so clerk staff can make sure to have what voters need.
     
  • Voters who encounter election issues can call the Bureau of Elections at 517-335-3237 or email Elections@Michigan.gov. They may also call 866-OUR-VOTE or the Detroit NAACP Hotline at 313-664-2424.
     
  • Michigan’s Language Access Task Force has resources available at Michigan.gov/SOSLanguageAccess.

For more information and resources on the upcoming election, visit Michigan.gov/Elections.

This week’s Ready for November episode can be found on the Michigan Department of State’s social media accounts and is archived on the MDOS informational webpage for the Nov. 3 election.

 

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