February 2020 Newsletter

P&A Service Highlight- Protecting Your Right to Vote

South Carolinian’s will be going to the polls on February 29th to vote in the Democratic primary. People with disabilities have the right to vote privately and independently. This will be the first time many people vote on South Carolina’s new voting machine the ExpressVote. This machines offers multiple new accessibility features that were not available on the last machine. The touch screen offers high contrast and text enlargement. The audio ballot is always running and every machine has a head phone jack. Each machine has an attached audio-tactile keypad which offers navigation, volume, and speed control. In addition, the machine has a port for a sip and puff or two position rocker switch. If you have a disability related voting problem or question, we urge you to call P&A at 1-866-275-7273.

Client Success Story

An individual who is hard of hearing approached P&A. He was having problems trying to communicate through glass partitions at his local county offices. Unfortunately, our client was not able to hear through the glass partition. He was not provided any accommodation and was unable to conduct needed business. After P&A contacted the county and educated them on the problem, the legal rights of people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and possible solutions, the county installed amplification devices in all offices with solid glass partitions. Staff received training on not just how to use the devices but on other disability related areas as well. These improvements not only helped our client, but will hopefully make the county more knowledgeable about accommodations for individuals with disabilities in the future.

Last Chance to Nominate Someone for the Community Champion Award

This year P&A is introducing a new Community Champion award that we will be presenting during our annual award ceremony at the Celebrating Abilities Gala. This award will be given to an individual, business, or organization anywhere in South Carolina that fully embodies P&A’s vision that people with disabilities are able to live, learn, work, and play independently in an integrated barrier free community. We would like your help finding who in our community is most deserving of this award. To make a nomination please fill out this form by this Friday Feburary 28, 2020.

Advocacy Watch- Absentee Voting Bill

P&A testified at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on January 23rd concerning S 867 a bill on Absentee Voting. The bill states that the process of examining the envelopes containing absentee ballots may now begin at 9:00 am on the calendar day immediately preceding election day as opposed to 2:00 pm on election day. P&A chose to testify because many people with disabilities choose to vote via absentee ballot and these people deserve to be confident that their votes are counted accurately and in a timely manner. State and County election officials have supported this bill stating that they need this additional time in order to process the envelopes.

Sponsor the 2020 Celebrating Abilities Gala

P&A needs your help to continue to ensure that people with disabilities in South Carolina have the right to live and work where they choose, to have equal access to services, and to be free from abuse and neglect. P&A’s fundraiser, Celebrating Abilities, hosts over 200 supporters across the state who come together for a night filled with silent and live auctions, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine, and an award ceremony. Advertise your business or personal support to the disability community while making an impact. To become a sponsor contact Maggie Knowles at knowles@pandasc.org 

Upcoming Community Events

Assistive Technology Expo, March 3
Advocacy Day for Access and Independence, April 1
Civil Rights — It Still Matters Fair Housing Conference April 24
P&A Celebrating Abilities Gala April 24