The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council empowers people with disabilities to share their voice. We encourage all to be involved in their communities where they live, work and play. Throughout each year the council keeps self advocates aware of key legislation that has potential to affect their lives. During election years we also provide voter training across the state. Our purpose is keep people informed on issues and aware of the process that allows them to exercise their civic right — to vote.
This past week our Iowa Legislature has considered bills that we feel will create unnecessary complexities and increase difficulties for people with disabilities to vote. We advocate for flexibility and simplicity in the law that allows Iowans with disabilities a chance to vote.
If the bills passes, this legislation will narrow voting times, limit who can provide needed assistance in casting a vote and limit placement and availability of ballot boxes, thus making voting more difficult.
These changes may seem small to many but from our perspective create excessive obstacles for people with disabilities to share their voice and cast a vote. We see the ability to ask for help and rely on natural supports as a hallmark of great self advocates.
Voting is one of the key freedoms of life. We know that people with disabilities are voting more than ever. We strongly feel the bill should be addressing more accessible ways for one to exercise their right, rather the furthering limitations.
Public policy manager, Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council