Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA)
To advocate for improved access to the electoral process by individuals with disabilities, working on systems change and outreach to individuals.
All individuals with disabilities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Voter Registration: To promote and assist in voter registration activities during all outreach to potential voters with disabilities.
Voting Rights Presentations: To provide presentations to self-advocacy and service provider groups to educate them on issues relating to voting rights and people with disabilities.
State-wide Access to Voting Committee: Participate with other disability rights advocates on the Secretary of State’s Access to Voting Committee where issues such as accessible voting technologies, voting official training and voter outreach are discussed.
Polling Place Accessibility and Voting Official Training: Systemic review of polling places throughout the State that was begun in the 2004 election year, with intense activity starting in June 2006. The goal of this project is to visit polling places identified in state self-surveys, or by DRVT constituents or other interested parties, as having less than fully accessible polling places. Using the US Department on Justice ADA Checklist for Polling Places our staff will determine current accessibility and communicate our findings to local polling officials and the Secretary of State’s office. Staff will make suggestions for improvements and provide additional disability awareness training to polling officials encountered during this process.
Availability for Information on Election Day: Approximately two weeks prior to election day, DRVT will distribute posters notifying individuals with disabilities that DRVT will have a toll-free phone number and attorneys available on election day to answer any questions voters with disabilities have on that day.
Working with GMSA: DRVT will support the Green Mountain Self Advocates to continue their efforts to encourage civic participation among their membership with technical support, training and a small grant to support “train-the-trainer” activities.
Raising Awareness of Voting Rights for People with Disabilities: As part of an overall effort to raise awareness in Vermont’s general population about the rights and struggles of Vermonter’s living with disabilities, especially regarding voting rights, DRVT will have outreach and education booths at several State and regional fairs this summer. While present at these large community gatherings, DRVT staff will register voters who identify themselves as having a disability, and will provide information and referral sources to all members of the public, but especially Vermonters with disabilities, about the rights of Vermonters with disabilities to vote without obstructions and prejudice, and will publicize the availability of DRVT’s Voter Hotline two weeks prior to the November elections.