Government

Linn County Democratic convention model for accessibility

Real-time transcription, quiet room and ADA-compliant facilities offered

A “quiet room' is seen at the Linn County Democrats convention at the Kirkwood Community College Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Delegates turned out despite the snow and filled all 228 seats for the county. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A “quiet room' is seen at the Linn County Democrats convention at the Kirkwood Community College Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Delegates turned out despite the snow and filled all 228 seats for the county. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

HIAWATHA — In its effort to make participation in the political process possible for more Iowans, the Linn County Democratic Party’s convention Saturday was the most accessible so far.

Not only was it held at a location compliant with the American with Disabilities Act — the Kirkwood Community College Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha — but several other steps were taken to address accessibility, said Catherine Crist of Cedar Rapids, chairwoman of the party’s Disability Caucus.

The convention provided Computer Aided Real-Time Transcription (CART), a service animal relief area, refrigerator and freezer for medications and food, a quiet room, large print materials, wheelchair access, increased table heights and preferential seating, Crist said.

The real-time transcriptionist was unable to attend the convention because of the weather, but was able to follow the livestream of the gathering and post her transcription from home, Crist said.

The accommodations were based on a survey of the delegates and alternates to identify their needs. For example, although it was one of the choices on the survey, Crist said, there were no requests for a sign language interpreter.

The Linn County convention will serve as a model for the 1st District convention March 24 and the state convention June 16, Crist said.

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