The Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) is an advisory committee to the county elections office. VAAC members serve at the discretion of the County Registrar. The mission of the county level VAAC is to “advise, assist, and provide recommendations to the County Registrar regarding the implementation of federal and state laws relating to access to the electoral process by voters with disabilities, so that all persons can vote independently and privately.”
Purpose of the VAAC
- Assist and advise county elections officials on existing programs to reach people with disabilities and provide advice on whether to create new programs.
- Advise county elections officials on where to set up voting equipment, and how to recognize barriers to participation for senior voters and voters with disabilities.
- Assist county elections officials in surveying polling places for compliance with state and federal accessibility guidelines.
- Evaluate inaccessible polling locations or voting areas to determine if – with the use of temporary modifying equipment or measures – it can be modified to permit use by senior voters and voters with disabilities.
- Assist and advise county elections officials in training poll workers to assist senior voters and voters with disabilities.
- Assist in the recruitment of poll workers or precinct officials, who are either senior citizens or have a disability.
- Assist county elections officials to enhance website accessibility, including establishing a county website accessibility statement.
A local VAAC will provide a forum for those who represent both the disabled and senior citizen communities, with the goal of bringing awareness to issues they encounter in the voting process. VAAC members can also recommend needed improvements to polling place websites, county voting materials, and county election procedures; in addition, local VAAC members can also suggest accessibility improvements to polling locations, voting systems, and other important topics like voter outreach and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
Outreach and Collaboration
A local VAAC provides outreach to individuals and organizations that promote awareness of individuals with disabilities and seniors citizens. A local VAAC opens lines of communication and fosters cooperation with community groups, ensuring elections officials can address issues directly and minimize misunderstandings.
Reaching out to these stakeholders can provide opportunities for the county to coordinate with the community, in an attempt to understand the diverse array of challenges they face. This also presents a great opportunity to recruit potential poll workers for future elections, as well as additional VAAC members to grow the organization.