Voters with disabilities say voting needs accessibility reform amid Georgia runoff

Jes Gordon received a free ride to her polling location so she could participate in early voting on Thursday. It was made possible thanks to Zan Thornton, of GA ADAPT.

Gordon said finding even one option can be a major barrier for voters with disabilities.

"If you have a mobility aid, or you need wheelchair access, you need a van that’s accessible to you," said Gordon. She added that available options are often too expensive.

"I have friends who say they have a company, but it can cost upwards of $50 to just go one way," said Gordon.

REV UP Georgia said there are around 650,000 people of voting age with disabilities in Georgia.  Gordon explains how absentee ballots do not eliminate challenges.

Jes Gordon waits her turn to vote in Georgia's runoff election for U.S. Senate. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

"What about those people who can’t fill out their ballot on their own?" said Gordon. "People don't understand. I need accessibility. I cannot walk back and forth, I cannot sit at this place, or I can't stand here this long and that’s become a big problem."

Sonya Rio-Glick, another voter with a disability, said she also faces challenges once she gets to the location.

"I need a ramp and enough space to move about a polling place and often in long lines or crowds, navigating a chair can be challenging," said Rio-Glick.

Sonya Rio-Glick speaks to FOX 5 about her own challenges voting as a wheelchair-user. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Rio-Glick added that absentee voting laws need to be reformed.

"There are many barriers in the current absentee ballot voting process that bar folks who cannot leave their homes or who struggle to get in and out if a vehicle or in and out of a building."

From physical, to mental, development or intellectual disabilities, Gordon said a common frustration is a lack of educated poll workers and that some of those volunteers might not have the knowledge required for individualized needs especially if a disability is not visible.

"They deserve to have a voice too," said Gordon.

GA ADAPT said it provided 150 rides for the general election and has about 300 scheduled for the runoff.