More than 100 Iowans with disabilities rallied at the statehouse Tuesday for election reforms they say will make it easier for them to cast ballots. Mike Hoenig of Davenport worries the the Governor will veto a house-passed election bill and the state will lose federal money that could be used to improve handicap access to the polls. Hoenig says since he “became politically conscious,” he’s always voted but must either file an absentee ballot or have a poll worker go into the booth with him because he’s blind. Honnick says he’s often had to educate poll workers in how to help him cast his vote. Honnick says they’re not used to a blind person coming in by himself, and he ends up telling them what to do. While they read him the ballot, he says the poll workers have trouble going over the voting options office-by-office and often make inappropriate comments. Hoenig says federal funds would pay for ballot-reading equipment, and he looks forward to the day his ballot will truly be a secret one like other voters’. Still, Hoenig says he doesn’t support some provisions of the bill approved by the House because it puts new restrictions on absentee ballots, restrictions he says will make it harder for the disabled to vote.
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