Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access Program Inclusion Act

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GALLEGO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on my and Senator Lujan's bill, the PAVA Program Inclusion Act.

This bill is based on a simple principle that every American should have equal access to vote, no matter where they are from.

S. 3969 makes a long-overdue fix to the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access program to improve voting access for Native and rural voters with disabilities in Arizona, the Four Corners region, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The PAVA program was first passed 20 years ago to break down barriers that Americans with disabilities face while exercising the most sacred right of all Americans, the right to vote. This program improves ADA compliance at polling locations, voting procedures for blind or deaf Americans, and training for poll workers to help Americans with disabilities cast their votes.

Unfortunately, due to an oversight in the original Help America Vote Act, voters with disabilities in the Northern Mariana Islands and in the rural, largely Tribal Four Corners region of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado were not included in this critical program.

That means for years, Americans with disabilities living in these regions have not received the investments they need to ensure they can access the ballot.

That is especially hard in northeast Arizona, which is largely Indian Country, where voters already often travel hours to get to the polling location, sometimes to find that it is not accessible to them. That must change.

This bill is a necessary step to bring resources to Native and other rural voters with disabilities who are trying to do their civic duty.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly urge all of my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, to vote ``yes'' and reaffirm the importance of voting access to everyone in our democracy.

Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois.