Contra Costa Elections Division Wins National Award for Improving Voter Accessibility

Press Release

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The Contra Costa Elections Division received a Clearinghouse Award from the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for its efforts to improve voter accessibility.

The award was for “A Simple (Accessible) Path for All”, which describes the innovative Accessible Polling Place Locations and Equipment (APPLE) class and polling place-specific kits for establishing and maintaining accessible polling places.

“This recognition by the Election Assistance Commission marks the second national award for the APPLE program, and highlights the tremendous skill, leadership and creativity of our Election team,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters. “Their goal has always been to ensure the greatest access to voting for the greatest number of voters regardless of any physical barrier. These resources give our poll workers the understanding, training and tools needed to provide that opportunity to all of our citizens.”

In January 2018, the Elections Division debuted a new class that reframes how poll workers think about accessibility and helps them better understand how modifications to a polling place can affect voters. To date, more than 700 poll workers have taken the class.

The Elections Division leveraged this improved understanding by providing each polling place with an Accessibility Kit, giving poll workers the information, pictures, and tools needed to eliminate any accessibility barriers at their polling place. The kits are unique because they use plain language to identify the potential barrier and describe how to fix it. This allows poll workers to understand how the situation impacts the voter and how their actions improve access.

The EAC’s Clearinghouse Awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models.

“Each recipient of this award represents the very best of what it means to be an election administrator,” EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks said. “We applaud them for their dedication, and hope their work can serve as an example to others.”

In addition to the EAC award, the APPLE class received a Professional Practices Program Award from the National Association of Election Officials (Election Center) in August 2018.

More information about APPLE is available on the Contra Costa Elections website at https://www.cocovote.us/poll-worker-center/accessible-polling-place-locationsand-equipment-apple-class/. ###