U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chairman Matthew V. Masterson, Vice Chair Thomas Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick issued a joint statement on July 26 marking the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and noting the importance accessibility protections afforded voters as a result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The following statement is a culmination of a monthlong EAC effort to spotlight the importance of efforts to ensure accessible and independent voting for all Americans.
“The purpose of the ADA was to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the right to fully participate in all aspects of society. Congress passed HAVA to protect and advance the rights of all voters, including those with disabilities. All Americans should be provided the same opportunity for voting access and participation, including the right to vote privately and independently.
“The EAC is charged with providing leadership in the areas of voting system accessibility, outreach programs, [and] training of election officials, poll workers, and volunteers on how best to promote the access and participation of individuals with disabilities in federal elections. We also establish voluntary voting system guidelines, test and certify voting systems, and ensure the accessibility of those systems for individuals with disabilities. The EAC is committed to helping state and local election officials carry out elections that are both accessible and secure for all Americans, including those with disabilities.
“While the ADA and HAVA have expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and changing perceptions, as well as increasing full participation in community life activities such as elections and voting, the full promise of the ADA and HAVA will only be reached if we remain committed to continue our efforts to fully implement these Acts. On this 27th anniversary of the ADA, the EAC celebrates and recognizes the progress that has been made by reaffirming the principles of equality in voting and full accessibility. We also recommit ourselves to efforts to reach full ADA and HAVA compliance.”