- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)47
- Neelys Landing man shot, killed by highway patrol trooper after traffic stop (05/01/16)42
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)40
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- 2016 All-Missourian Boys Basketball (04/29/16)
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)3
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
Election 2012: A guide to making your vote count
Don't let a disability keep you from the polls - every registered voter has the right to accessible voting
USA Today poll indicates more than 3.2 million Americans with disabilities feel "sidelined" on Election Day, and voter turnout is 11 percent lower among people with disabilities than with those who are not disabled.
"There has been, historically, a motivation gap by eligible voters with disabilities due to social isolation and a total disinterest in politics," says Miki Gudermuth, executive director of the SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence. "Most feel it hasn't mattered who is elected to office, politicians have totally ignored them, and in turn, they ignore the voting process. On a local level, this same motivational influence exists."
This year SADI conducted a survey about voting in its five-county service area. According to Gudermuth, the surveys indicate most voters with disabilities remain positive about voter accessibility, and many vote absentee because they feel it's easier and more private.
"Some indicated that being in a wheelchair and sitting at a table to vote, they sensed there are too many people walking around or standing near the voting table, which invaded their voting privacy," says Gudermuth. "Another problem was not enough close disabled parking or too far to walk into the building."
Nationwide, Gudermuth says there are additional barriers to voting, and she works closely with the county clerk's office to educate voters and address any accessibility issues.
"Most polls suggest, and I believe, that voter apathy is not indigenous to one voting group or one area of the country. It is a national problem," says Gudermuth. "I advocate extensively that we should all exercise our right to vote, no matter what the voting climate is. We each have been given that right and I don't believe you have any reason to complain if you don't vote for whom you believe to be the best candidate."
If you have limited mobility, the poll workers can bring the ballot to your vehicle. If you need this service, just send someone into the polling location to let the workers know you are outside. They will bring the ballot to you. You will still need to provide identification and address verification.
Accessible voting systems
Every polling place must have an accessible voting system for people with disabilities, including audiovisual accessibility. Accessible systems include an audio ballot to make selections, or the ability to enlarge text so you can read the on-screen ballot with ease.
If you have a permanent physical disability, you may request to be placed on a designated list so that your local election authority can automatically mail an absentee ballot application directly to you before each election. You'll need to make this request directly to your local election authority, who will send you more information.
Accessible voting places
If you have a physical disability and your polling place is not accessible, you may request a different polling place assignment so that you can vote in a more accessible polling place. You may also vote at a central location. Contact your local election authority to make this request.
If you need help casting your ballot due to a disability, you can bring a friend or family member with you. This person does NOT need to be older than 18 or a registered voter. Bipartisan poll workers are also available for assistance.
A magnifying glass is available at every polling location for those needing it.
Hospital voting is provided on election day for voters who are admitted after 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the election.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
If you were already in line when the polls close at 7 p.m., you still have the right to cast your vote.
"Oh no -- I made a mistake on my ballot!" As a registered Missouri voter, you have the right to receive another ballot if yours is accidentally spoiled or you make an error.
WHO'S MY LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITY?
Bollinger County Clerk's Office
204 E. High St., Marble Hill, Mo.
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY
Cape Girardeau County Clerk's Office
1 Barton Square, Jackson
Perry County Clerk's Office
321 N. Main, No. 2, Perryville, Mo.
Scott County Clerk's Office
131 S. Winchester, Benton, Mo.
(Additional sources: Missouri Voting Rights Center, Missouri Secretary of State's Office, SEMO Area Agency on Aging)