On Election Day, voters with disabilities have two options when it comes to casting their ballot. Past elections have demonstrated that every vote is critical, so polling officials are required to make sure every disabled voter has access to the ballot box.
The first step for any voter, of course, is to register to vote if you haven’t voted in the past or you have moved to a new location since the last voting cycle. All voters may use this state-by-state guideline and form to register.
Disabled voters who cannot vote at their actual designated poll may choose to vote by absentee ballot. Laws governing absentee voting vary greatly from state to state, so it’s important to contact election officials or your local election office for assistance. More information on absentee voting for disabled persons can be obtained by going to this website hosted by the National Association for Secretaries of State.
For many disabled voters, participating equally and fully in the voting process means making a trip to their polling place and casting a ballot in person. For these individuals, election officials must make every effort to make sure handicapped persons have access to the polls and all the tools they need to vote. A video produced by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for election managers may shed some light on the various measures officials are advised to take to ensure all citizens can vote.
Such steps include selecting a polling place, creating handicapped parking zones if none already exist, placing ramps over curbs and rubber mats over rough grating for wheelchair access, modifying doorways with thresholds, use of signs directing disabled persons where to park and enter the building, providing supplies such as magnifying glasses and pencil grips that disabled voters may need, and providing handicapped accessible voting booths, among other steps.
Disabled persons who experience accessibility problems on Election Day can contact the Election Protection Coalition for advice or guidance at 1-866-OUR VOTE. This nonpartisan organization offers offer information and advice to assure voters that their vote is counted.