They came from all over Iowa to the state fairgrounds yesterday, for a different kind of experience. The Walnut Center building on the fairgrounds was a temporary classroom, with videos, speakers and even hands-on demonstrations to teach Iowans unaccustomed to the process just how you go about casting your vote. Rik Shannon is project director with “I-D Action,” a project of the Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council. He helped put together the workshop, intended to increase participation of Iowans with disabilities in the political process. But Shannon says focus groups around the state surprised organizers who’d expected disabled voters to complain about high steps or other physical barriers. They’re used to overcoming those, and even know about absentee ballots and curbside voting. What they don’t have is information about issues, candidates, what it’s like to find a polling place…and what to do once you get in. So the all-day session included a real voting booth, a sample ballot…and just for practice there was a pretend ballot too, with a real choice of what kind of ice cream would be dessert at the day’s luncheon.
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