House Passes Legislation Led by Luján, Klobuchar, Blunt to Improve Ballot Access for Voters with Disabilities
Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M), Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing their legislation – the PAVA Program Inclusion Act – to ensure all voters with disabilities, regardless of geographic location, can fully participate in the electoral process. This legislation allows two Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As), which provide protections and services to individuals with disabilities, to access Help America Vote Act Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) funds on par with the other 55 P&As nationwide. This will enable these two P&As, the Native American Disability Law Center in Farmington, NM and the Northern Marianas P&A, to better serve voters with disabilities.
U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) led the bipartisan legislation in the House. The legislation now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.
“In New Mexico and in states throughout the country, rural and Native communities have faced multiple obstacles that hinder their ability to access the ballot box and participate in our elections,” said Luján. “Regardless of where voters live, access to the ballot box must be broad and accessible for every citizen, especially those with disabilities. That’s why I’m glad the House has followed the Senate in passing my legislation that secures more federal funding to provide and expand voting assistance services, ensuring all Americans can exercise their sacred right to vote.”
“Our democracy works best when all citizens can participate in elections, but too many Americans still face obstacles in casting their ballot,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that Americans with disabilities, including Native Americans and Americans living in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, can access voting assistance services regardless of where they live. I was proud to help lead this bill’s passage through the Senate and now that it has passed the House, I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
“As a state election official for 20 years, I’m committed to making sure every eligible voter who chooses to cast a ballot is able to do so,” said Blunt. “This bipartisan, commonsense bill expands accessibility services to more people and protects their right to be a part of the democratic process. I’m glad to see it on its way to the president’s desk.”
A summary of the bill can be found HERE.