New voting law helps those with disabilities

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- One of the most important civic duties in the United States is voting.

November 22, Governor Tony Evers signed a bill to help those with disabilities vote with ease.

The bipartisan measure creates accommodations for people with disabilities which make it difficult for them to communicate verbally.

Local Aging and Disability Resource Center representatives say the bill will help them to better serve their clients.

Under the new law, those with physical disabilities affecting verbal speech or those who communicate non-verbally will no longer have to state their name and address to an election official before being allowed to vote.

Instead, they can present their personal information in writing and delegate the verbal task for someone else.

Hudson resident Ramsey Lee was one of the driving forces behind getting this law passed, according to the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition.

"Sometimes we notice these things when the advocates are out there for people with disabilities and people who have disabilities are out there saying, hey, this doesn’t work for me and we need to fix this,” Fijalkiewicz said. “That's really how this moved along."

A Rutgers University fact sheet on voter turnout in 2018 notes there was a 10.4% gap in Wisconsin voter turnout between citizens with and without disabilities.

The ADRC hopes the new law can help close that gap.