FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Annual “Clearie” Awards Recognize Outstanding Innovations in Elections, and Best Practices in Accessibility and Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers
Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that the Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder’s Office was the recipient of a 2018 “Clearie” Award for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities. The Clerk-Recorder’s Office received the award for their “A Simple (Accessible) Path for All” initiative which launched the innovative Accessible Polling Place Location and Equipment (APPLE) class and provided toolkits for establishing and maintaining accessible polling places. Born of the EAC’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the annual “Clearie” awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models which can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions.
“Election officials are some of the greatest civic leaders our nation has to offer,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “They are the stewards of the bedrock of our democracy, who often implement innovative solutions with limited budgets and zero margin for error. The annual Clearie awards give the EAC an opportunity to recognize their vital contributions on a national stage and highlight best practices within the field of election administration. Each recipient of this award represents the very best of what it means to be an election administrator. We at the EAC applaud them for their dedication, and hope their work can serve as an example to others.”
Contra Costa County conducts a survey of each of its 268 polling places after every election and is often able to identify ways to improve the accessibility of these locations. Following the November 2016 election, Contra Costa County Clerk, Recorder and Registrar Joseph Canciamilla realized improvements could be made to how election workers were trained to create a welcoming environment for all voters across the county and created the Accessible Polling Place Location and Equipment (APPLE) class. This class brought a fresh approach to accessibility training because it placed election workers in the shoes of voters who may need assistance to provide instruction on establishing accessible polling places and ensuring they remained accessible throughout the day. The county also provided an Accessibility Kit to give election workers further information on how to remove any accessibility barriers at their polling place. More than 700 election workers, nearly half of the county’s total Election Day volunteers, have taken the class since it was launched in January 2018.
Now in its third year, the “Clearie” awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s efficacy, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness and replicability.
This year’s Clearie awards are dedicated to the life and legacy of Wendy Noren and R. Brian Lewis. Wendy Noren served as Boone County Clerk for over three decades and was a member of the EAC’s Board of Advisors before passing away in March 2018 following a long battle with cancer. R. Brian Lewis served as Counsel to the Office of the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee before his passing, and was an early and steadfast proponent of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and election officials. Both were luminaries in the field of election administration who will long be remembered for their hard work, integrity and friendship.
For more information about the “Clearies” or to speak with Chairman Hicks, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-897-9285.
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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.