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Voting Workshop Helps Iowans with Special Needs Overcome Barriers

JOHNSTON, Iowa -- Iowans with Disabilities in Action is making sure all people vote next month, especially those with special needs.

The Goodwill Day Services program and IDAction held a workshop for those with disabilities and special needs on Monday to prepare them for mid-term elections.

"Some people with intellectual disabilities don’t even think they have the right to vote. So just giving them that empowerment to say I can vote and it’s important and my voice is important ,is what we are trying to do," Lead Life Instructor for Goodwill Day Services Sean Abramowitz said.

Members of the Day Services program had the chance to learn what it means to vote and the mechanics of each step.

"We had a room full of eligible voters about maybe a third of whom were actually registered. And when I talked with them a little bit about that, it’s about the process. What do I have to do to get registered to vote, how difficult is it, do i have to show an ID," Iowans with Disabilities in Action Project Director Rik Shannon said.

One participant said she is now more excited to vote and loved that she got to practice on a voting machine.

"I’ll be reading, researching more I think because of this presentation. And I am glad to see that voting machine. It’s lower so it’s wheel chair accessible," Cheryl Carl said.

Shannon said it’s important that people with disabilities understand that their voice matters.

“I think it’s really important particularly for people with disabilities because there are so many decisions that are being made on their behalf. And really critical decisions about funding and policy that affects their ability to live independently, to access the services and supports they need to live in the coimmunity, to work in the community, and to learn in our schools," Shannon said.