Toolkit available for voters with disabilities - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Toolkit available for voters with disabilities

Posted: Updated:
 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Your voice is your vote - and in order to ensure everyone has an easier voting experience, a low-cost, low-tech tool kit will be available come Election Day. The Guam Legal Services Disabilities Law Center wants to make the voting process easier for everyone.

Michelle Nicole Cruz told KUAM News, "For a lot of our voters with disabilities, they don't have access to cast their vote, to cast a secret ballot like everyone else in the community does so they want to make their voice heard but they can't."  And together with Guam System for Assistive Technology, Guam Legal Services created an assistive technology toolkit for voters to utilize on Election Day.

Cruz, a Center advocate, added, "When they're down there they may not have the tools, they may not be able to see the ballots, they may not think they can cast the ballot on their own, so we wanted to make sure they knew not only can they do that, but we've provided some tools to help them do that and make it easier for them."

These low-cost, low-tech tool kits were first offered during the August primary election. For the general election, there will be two kits at each precinct. Protection and advocacy program coordinator Carol Cabiles adds while the tool kit was created for individuals with disabilities, it can be used by any voter particularly our man'amko.  "So have just a simple tennis ball and put a pen through this so somebody with arthritis will probably be able to use this and sign in this is signature guide and it's just cardstock paper that is laminated and a hole cut out so when they show their id to register to vote this can be good for somebody with low vision.

"We have a full-page magnifier and sometimes you forget your eyeglasses when you go to vote so this is helpful. We have a whiteboard with a dry erase market, this is for someone who is non verbal or a speech impediment they can use this to communicate with the election officials."

She says the goal is allow voters with disabilities to vote independently and privately like everyone else. Precinct officials and GEC staff have also been trained on the tool kits and how to interact with voters with disabilities. Cabiles in the meantime says if voters feel that your polling place is not accessible you can call the GEC at 477-9791 or you can file a complaint with their office.

Cabiles said, "Guam Legal Services Corporation Disability Law Center is the protection advocacy system for Guam, so we also will take complaints and look into them if you r voting polling place is not accessible on Election Day."

Signs will also be posted at each polling place informing the community of what resources are available. 
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