Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes Hosts Roundtable With Disability Community

Published: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 5:23pm
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 5:25pm
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes met with the disability community.

Arizona’s 2016 presidential primary is remembered by many as a fiasco after thousands of voters, including people with disabilities, stood in line for hours to vote.

While that was unusual, voters with disabilities often face hurdles. Efforts are being made to improve that.

It’s called the Roundtable Project, and it’s an opportunity for Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes to meet with often under-served communities.

On Thursday, Fontes met with members of the disability community. A big area of concern for this population is access.

"They want what they deserve, and they want their rights preserved," Fontes said. "We’ve got a lot more awareness on access to large print ballots and braille ballots, for example. We are completely replacing the specific voting machines that we use for people with disabilities with a much better, newer model for the 2020 cycle."

Renaldo Fowler is a senior staff advocate with the Arizona Center for Disability Law. He joined Fontes at the roundtable. He says his job is to look at the entire electoral process

 "So some of the challenges that voter or persons with disabilities is making sure poll workers are trained; making sure that that machine is on and that they know how to use that machine; making sure that the poll workers understand disability etiquette," Fowler said.

 At least two people at the roundtable expressed their frustrations about poll workers who were not trained or prepared to help a person with a disability vote. 

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