Several new laws improve voting access
Thanks to the 2015 Legislature, elections are now much more accessible to voters with disabilities.
Until now, voters with disabilities had very few options to vote accessibly and privately. At the polls, voters with disabilities could use an AutoMark voting machine. However, individuals who wanted to vote by absentee ballot either had to travel to their nearest polling place, which was sometimes a great distance, to use an AutoMark machine or rely on someone to fill out their ballot.
Now, thanks to the passage of HB 400, voters with disabilities will have access to an accessible means of voting absentee by being able to request and vote on an emailed, electronic ballot as a reasonable accommodation. This bill will make it easier for voters with disabilities to independently and privately fill out their own ballots electronically at home and then print out and mail their ballot back in a secrecy envelope, or print, scan, and email their voted ballots back, as current absentee and overseas military voters do.
Another law that increases access is HB 209. Individuals with disabilities can now to designate an agent as a reasonable accommodation for providing assistance throughout the registration and voting process.
If you are interested in learning more about either of these changes, or to request an electronic ballot or assign a designated agent, simply contact your county election administrator’s office.
Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities changes
Starting in July, Montana’s Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities program (MWD) will undergo two major changes.
The first is that asset limits will increase to $15,000 for an eligible individual and $30,000 for a couple, from previous limits of $8,000 and $12,000.
The second change is that retirement accounts established while participants are actively enrolled in MWD will not count as a resource against other Medicaid programs when they exit the program.
For more information please contact Summit ILC or speak with your benefits planner.