Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA)

"Vote" with new universal symbol for access with the figure holding a piece of paper with a box checked for "Choice" and not for "Options"Network Partner Updates
DDNN Winter 2016/17
Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL)

The Center’s Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) project builds collaborative partnerships, provides voter training and education, and has worked with election officials to protect the rights of voters with disabilities. The mandate of the PAVA project, which was created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), is to ensure the full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities, including registering to vote, casting votes and accessing polling places.

Over the past year, the Center has reached out and collaborated with the self-advocacy community (People First of Arizona, Youth Action Council of Arizona, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered) in developing and implementing successful statewide voting rights trainings. The trainings were held in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, in partnership with election officials from Maricopa, Pima and Coconino counties.

The Center and members from Arizona’s self-advocacy community were invited to present at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) national conference held in June 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  NDRN considers the collaborative model developed between the Center and the self-advocate community in Arizona as a best practice model for Protection and Advocacy agencies.

PAVA Election Day Hotline

On election days, the Center operates a Voter Hotline to address any concerns a voter with a disability may have regarding their rights. During the March 22, 2016 Presidential Preference Election, the Center received more than 230 calls. The vast majority of these calls were related to the long lines and excessive waiting time to vote. The Center staff worked with Maricopa County Elections to address the issues relating to the March 22nd election.

On November 4th, Center staff monitored six early voting sites throughout Maricopa County to access the length of waiting time for voters.  There was a significant reduction in the waiting time compared to the March 22nd Presidential Preference Election. Between November 7th and 8th, the Center received 271 related election calls.

On November 8th, the Center’s Hotline received a complaint from a caller with a visual impairment regarding his inability to vote privately and the poll worker’s inability to operate the accessible voting equipment. The Center contacted the Maricopa County Federal Election Compliance Office to assist in resolving the caller’s inability to vote privately and independently. With assistance from the County compliance officer, the caller was able to cast his vote privately and independently