Federal laws ensure the voting rights of every American through simple accommodations.

(San Diego) – Imagine the privilege of voting being denied to you because of challenges due to disability or aging. Even people temporarily disabled through health issues might need help exercising this right.

“Voting is one of the dearest rights we have as American citizens,” said Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. “If you need some extra help, federal and state laws say that you are entitled to simple accommodations that will preserve your right to vote. But I find that many of our senior and disabled clients are unaware of this and need to be informed about the help available to them,” said Edward-Tate.

Four federal laws protect the right to vote for to disabled and elderly voters who have specific needs.

Every registered voter is notified on the sample ballot mailed to them by their county elections official whether their polling place is accessible. Elections officials are required, to the extent possible, to ensure that polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities.

In preparing to vote, if a voter cannot read his or her Voter Information Guide, there are large print and audio versions available from the California Secretary of State’s office.

Under California law, any voter who needs help in casting a ballot is entitled to request assistance. A pollworker can provide assistance or the voter may select a person of his or her choice. If you are unable to mark your ballot yourself, you may select up to two people to help you cast your vote. The persons may not be your employer, your employer’s agent or your labor union leader or agent.

You have the right to request an absentee or mail ballot right up to Election Day. You also have the right to curbside voting if you cannot go into the polls.

The law requires that everyone who works in a polling place on Election Day receive training, including instruction on the rights of voters with disabilities.

“What a horrible shame if our communities were to lose out on the years of wisdom and experience that could help guide us when older voters aren’t able to cast their ballot. Throughout our nation’s history, men and women have fought to guarantee the right to vote to us. I urge everyone to check in with their family, friends, and neighbors who might need help voting and be sure that these wise voices are counted,” concluded Edwards-Tate.

The California Secretary of State’s office has a booklet called “Your Voting Rights” with information about the rights of all voters, including accommodations for disabled and senior voters. It is available online at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/election_2008/voting_rights_may_08.pdf

Today, there are 36 million adults age 65 and over in the United States; 3.5 million live in California. This population is expected to nearly double nationally and statewide over the next 30 years. With an increasing average life expectancy for Americans reaching over 75 years of age, the need for voting accessibility will only increase.

About At Your Home Familycare
Established in 1984, the mission of At Your Home Familycare is to make a positive difference in the quality of life for the communities it serves, especially on behalf of senior citizens, disabled adults, and youth, by providing caring, reliable, and affordable non-medical home care. AYHF President and Founder Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a native San Diegan and on the cutting edge of the non-medical home care aide and private duty industries. Edwards-Tate was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging baby boomer population. Now celebrating its 26th year in business, AYHF is one of San Diego County’s Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses and Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in San Diego, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate contributes numerous articles on current issues and challenges in the home care industry to industry publications and websites, and is frequently interviewed in the media on home care and health care topics.

AYHF is online at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare Phone numbers is 888-FAM-CARE (326-2273).

Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, (619) 997-2495
info@falconvalleygroup.com  or @PRProSanDiego

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