Grant helps state boost
voting access to disabled

Major improvements are planned with a $300,000 federal grant to the state to ensure that people with disabilities have voting access in the 2006 elections.

The state Department of Health's Disability & Communication Access Board and the Office of Elections received the Election Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose is to help the state meet requirements of the Help America Vote Act.

Francine Wai, executive director of the Disability & Communication Access Board, said the funding will be used "to make polling sites more accessible, create alternative ways of voting that are independent and private for people with disabilities, and to include people with disabilities in all aspects of voting, including working at the polls."

People with disabilities will be invited to a voter kick-off event in October to discuss their voting experiences and accessibility needs.

Smaller voter workshops will be held in the fall to increase voter registration among the disabled and provide information on how to register to vote, what to expect at the polls, accessibility methods and voting rights.

For more information about the project or to participate in events, contact Joan Bird at (808) 586-8121 (V/TTY), joan.bird@doh.hawaii.gov.

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