MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a 2020 Clearinghouse Award from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for improving accessibility for voters with disabilities, Administrator Meagan Wolfe announced.

“This is a great honor, in many ways because we were nominated by Barbra Beckert and the Disability Vote Coalition, who are members of our Accessibility Advisory Committee,” Wolfe said.  “I’m very proud of the team for their work on this program over the years and I think we have really fostered something special in our state.”

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has announced the recipients of the 2020 Clearinghouse Awards, also known as the “Clearie” Awards, for best practices in election administration. Established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the EAC is charged with serving as a clearinghouse for election administration information. To further this mission, the EAC launched the Clearies in 2016 to promote best practices in elections and celebrate the accomplishments of election officials.

The award categories include innovation in election administration; improving accessibility for voters with disabilities; best practices in recruiting, training, and retaining poll workers; and creative and original “I Voted” sticker design. Winners were selected by two independent panels of election officials from the EAC’s advisory boards, with the EAC Commissioners serving as judges for the sticker category.

“This year we are pleased to receive a record-breaking number of 137 Clearie submissions, more than tripling the 2019 submissions,” said EAC Chairman Donald Palmer. “The Clearie winners, those who submitted entries, and all election officials should be incredibly proud of the work they did to ensure a successful 2020 election. These best practices are valuable resources as officials continue to administer elections during the pandemic and for years to come.”

Now in its fifth year, the Clearie awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s depiction of positive results, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness, and replicability. More information about each awardee is available on the EAC’s website.

The WEC’s Accessibility Advisory Committee holds public meetings quarterly to discuss issues related to accessibility for voters with disabilities.  Members include disability advocacy organizations across the state of Wisconsin, such as the Disability Vote Coalition, Disability Rights Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, People First Wisconsin, the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Access to Independence, and other organizations focused on various disability and aging issues.

Wolfe thanked Assistant Administrator Richard Rydecki, who has grown the agency’s accessibility program over the years, as well as Elections Specialist Brianna Hanson, who currently leads these efforts, for their contributions.

This is Wisconsin’s second Clearie Award.  The WEC received the award in 2019 for Outstanding Innovations in Elections for the Securing WisVote cybersecurity training program.

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