Survey: Disabled like vote-by-mail program

  • March 11, 2014

By Nels Johnson
Independent-Journal Staff Writer

Marin voters with disabilities cast ballots in high numbers by mail, but few use accessible voting equipment available at polling places.

A survey by California State University-East Bay professor Elizabeth Bergman and Marin Registrar Elaine Ginnold indicates turnout of 92 percent for the disabled in Marin, compared with 57 percent nationally and 50 percent in California.

Marin makes it easy to vote by mail, and publicizes the option, Ginnold observed. Since 2006, an average of only seven voters used accessible voting machines at countywide elections.

"If improving access to the ballot is the goal, then the availability of mailed balloting should be expanded," Bergman said.

The Elections Office distributed the survey to 8,400 people with help from disability groups, and mailed surveys to 5,000 voters over 80. The response rate was 15 percent.

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