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Ensuring everyone has equal access to the ballot box

That includes disabled voters
Posted at 11:54 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 00:04:50-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Making a plan to vote safely has been tougher for many this year because of the pandemic. However, voters with disabilities are used to thinking ahead. Jeremy Warriner is one of them.

"Voting has been a really important thing always in my life, but as a result of this, I've made it a point to vote in every election," Warriner said.

An amputee for 15-years after a bad car accident, Warriner has learned to live in a world that does not always accommodate those with disabilities despite protections that are in place. When Warriner went to vote, he and his family got to the back of the line. Soon after, others in line allowed him, his wife and step son to get toward the front.

"It was really amazing to feel that support from other people in line who were saying you need to go up to the building, you need to go around the line and go in," Warriner said. While he's thankful for the kindness of strangers, he wishes there had been clearer directions for those with disabilities at the voting site. Warriner tells WRTV there was a separate line for those who needed accommodations, but it wasn't clearly marked.

"The more that we accommodate our world with people disabilities, the more we also open doors for everybody else," Warriner said.

Var Brynildssen is also another voter who needs accommodations when voting

"Without the assistance of my family who had more knowledge on the subject, I don't know how on earth I would have done it," Brynildssen said.

Brynildssen is talking about his first time voting. He has arthrogryposis which impacts the use of his arms. He's unable to use voting machines without help. Although he voted absentee this year, he tells WRTV it's important all polling places make sure they can serve everyone, no matter their physical abilities

"Having what I would say is more accessible voting stations [is important], so if you do want to vote in person in a time like this, you have that option and possibly having dedicated staff that are there to assist you," Brynildssen said.

"We can achieve the same goals, the goal of voting, the goal of having a voice in our government through accommodations that allow us to exercise those rights in a different way," Warriner said

Americans with disabilities are a big voting block this year because of concerns over healthcare, specifically pre-existing conditions and Covid-19. An Easterseal survey shows 91% of eligible voters who have a disability plan to vote in the 2020 General Election

The website below is for people who run into problems at the polls.

There's also a phone number to call: 1-886-Our Vote