Iowa Democrats’ Efforts To Increase Accessibility For Disabled Participants Praised By Some, Fall Short By Others
“I call it ‘Iowa-nice’ voter suppression," said McCoy McDeid, who was one of the participants not impressed by the Iowa Democratic Party's efforts this year. The party attempted to open up caucuses to more participants this year by shortening the candidate selection process and establishing satellite locations that could run hours before the normal 7 p.m. start of other caucuses throughout the state.
Confusion Reigned In Iowa Caucus — Even Before The Chaotic Results
Reyma McCoy McDeid designed an Iowa caucus precinct that was tailored to voters with disabilities. But it almost got derailed. While normal Democratic caucuses are standing affairs, every caucusgoer at the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living in Des Moines had a chair in their candidate’s section. When it was time for supporters to give speeches for their candidate, they had a microphone wheeled to them. In an adjacent room, around 20 people with hearing impairment participated in the state’s only all-sign-language caucus. But a half-hour after residents were supposed to begin caucusing here, long lines and confusion with the Iowa Democratic Party about whether participants had to pre-register left McCoy McDeid, the center’s executive director, visibly shaken. “I’m really irritated,” she said, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans. “The messaging around accessibility has been great, but the reality has not been great. It’s enraging to me. It’s absurd. “I call it ‘Iowa-nice’ voter suppression.” Some who waited to get in, like Jamie Cotten, who is hampered by an injured ankle and using a knee scooter, didn’t know whether they would have to find another location to caucus. This was not what the Iowa Democratic Party had in mind when it attempted to open up caucuses to more participants this year by shortening the candidate selection process and establishing satellite locations that could run hours before the normal 7 p.m. start of other caucuses throughout the state. (Vasilogambros, 2/5)
Amid Iowa Chaos, Some With Disabilities Got An Accessible Caucus Location
For a small handful of Iowans, simply participating in Monday’s caucuses was a momentous feat in itself. For the first time this year, people with disabilities could take advantage of 87 new satellite caucus locations set up by the Iowa Democratic Party, aimed at making the complicated process of caucusing, which can involve standing to move across a room or up and down bleachers and stairs, that much easier. All of the locations offered the chance to participate outside of normal hours. And some provided language assistance and accessibility features like an elevator and gender neutral restrooms that might otherwise have been unavailable for those with disabilities. (Satter and Vercellone, 2/4)