On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes received the Kentucky Rehabilitation Association’s Gerald N. Williams Accessibility award in recognition of her efforts to ensure accessible opportunities for individuals with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. The award is given annually to an individual, business or organization that has demonstrated leadership in removing environmental and legal barriers and overcoming discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Since taking office in January 2012, Grimes, who is the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official, has worked to ensure that polling places and voting equipment are accessible and partnered with other agencies, including the Kentucky Department of Protection and Advocacy, the Kentucky Human Rights Commission and Arc of Kentucky, to educate Kentuckians about their rights.

She also recently concluded a statewide series of round table events to discuss strategies to engage all Kentuckians in their communities and state and is currently hosting town hall meetings to explore possible changes to Kentucky’s voting laws to better protect the right to vote.

“Nearly 17 percent of Kentuckians – the second highest in the nation –are living with a disability, and I am committed to making sure their voices are heard” said Grimes. “I am grateful to the Kentucky Rehabilitation Association for their advocacy and honored to receive the Gerald N. Williams Accessibility award.”

Holly Hendricks, President-Elect of the Kentucky Rehabilitation Association, said, “The ability to participate fully in elections is central to KRA’s goal of personal independence for persons with disabilities. The KRA appreciates Secretary Grimes’ efforts to ensure that Kentuckians with disabilities are able to vote privately and independently.”

The Kentucky Rehabilitation Association is the professional association for providers of vocational rehabilitation services and is committed to the advancement of persons with disabilities. The award was presented at the Southeast Region National Rehabilitation Association Training Conference in Louisville, where professionals from across the region gathered to share best practices for helping individuals with disabilities live independently.

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