Libraries make voting easier

February 11, 2000
Santa Paula News
Confused by the issues and candidates on the March 7 ballot? Paying a visit to Blanchard Community Library may make voting a little easier. The California State Library has sponsored a non-partisan Easy Reading Voter Guide, and 75 copies are available at the Library.In 16 color-coded pages, the guide contains statements from each of the candidates for president, information from all seven political parties in California, and a quick summary of the statewide ballot initiatives.The California State Library became involved in publishing an easy-to-read voter guide six years ago, as part of the adult literacy program it sponsors in public libraries. The first guides were intended for the use of people with low literacy skills. According to Al Bennett, a coordinator of literacy programs at the State Library, managers of the program soon noticed that other library patrons wanted to read their voter guides, and so did library employees.The relative simplicity of the Easy Reading Voter Guide is its principal attraction to voters, according to Bennett. “Often people wait until the night before the election to read more about the issues on the ballot,” he says. “This guide is a handy way of learning the main points on which a voter has to make a decision.”
County election offices and the League of Women Voters also participate in distributing the Easy Reading Voter Guide, which is designed to acquaint voters with both the presidential candidates and the statewide initiatives.Voters also may learn more about the ballot issues by going to the new Easy Reading Voter Guide website at

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