The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced this week that the Merced County Registrar of Voters Office (California) was a recipient of a 2019 Clearinghouse “Clearie” Award for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities.
The Registrar’s Office received the award for utilizing their new Multilingual Virtual Poll Worker Program (MVP) to assist voters who are deaf by providing a direct iPad-based connection to American Sign Language interpreters.
The annual “Clearie” awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models which can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions.
“Presidential election years present unique challenges for election officials and voting has already begun in the nation’s first primary,” said EAC Chairwoman Christy McCormick. “We are excited to announce the Clearie awards to recognize election officials across the country who did exceptional work to improve accessibility in 2019, while they buckle down for a busy election year. The recipients of these awards displayed ingenuity and creativity in their service to voters with disabilities and election workers.”
In an effort to make the voting process accessible and inclusive to all Merced County voters, a planning and research effort resulted in the adoption of the new county-wide MVP system. The convenience of using an app-based program on user-friendly iPads made the integration of the new service seamless at polling places.
“My entire staff and I are extremely excited to be honored with the Clearie Award,” said Barbara Levey, the Registrar of Voters for Merced County. “We have received wonderful feedback from our voters who have utilized the Multilingual Virtual Poll Worker or MVP program. The MVP has the capability of connecting our voters to interpreters in more than 200 languages including ASL. We have also utilized this technology in one of my other offices where we were struggling to find an interpreter. This technology is a game changer in being able to provide services to our voters and our community.”