This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Elderly delegates were denied the right to vote. Injured veterans were prevented from voting. Why? Because, at the Republican State Convention, James Evans, the party chairman, called for a stand-up vote. When an elderly gentleman indicated that he was unable to stand and asked that we use the clickers (already issued) to vote, the chair quickly denied his request.
Many of my precinct members expressed astonishment and outrage over this event. As the current Miss Wheelchair Utah and elected Republican state delegate, I hoped I could help. Precinct members, disabled citizens and I joined together in protest at the Republican state headquarters. Evans' private phone reply? He proceeded to yell at and berate me, literally leaving me in tears. His official replies? "I'm offended. ... Only after receiving an apology for this publicity stunt will I be willing to start over and engage in a meaningful dialogue."
This is not a personal issue. It's a party issue. Our precincts, which include thousands of persons who placed their votes in our hands, went unrepresented because we couldn't stand up. Millions of people in the U.S. have disabilities impairing their ability to stand. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over a quarter century ago, in part to help allow wounded war veterans to fully participate in society.
Mr. Chairman, I move that you lead the charge in doing what is right rather than waiting for the disabled to apologize to you for publicly protesting for their right to vote. Require voting mechanisms at official Republican meetings that reasonably allow all present to vote.
Salt Lake City