What are my rights
Several laws are in place to protect the rights of voters with disabilities. These laws not only ensure your ability to cast a vote but also protect your safety and ability to do so independently and with privacy.
You have the right to choose someone to assist you with voting. You may bring someone with you or ask for help from poll workers. (Your employer, union, or someone working for them, are not allowed to assist you.)
Election officials must make reasonable accommodations for you to vote. This could mean providing a quiet place to wait in line until it’s your turn to vote if you have difficulty with loud noise, or providing a chair for you if it’s challenging for you to stand in line.
Voting facilities must be accessible to voters using wheelchairs or other mobility tools. This includes accessible parking, an elevator in the building if the voting area is not on the same floor as the entrance, and sufficient room to navigate a wheelchair inside the voting area. Curbside voting alone does not meet the legal requirements for voting facilities.
Each facility must have at least one voting system in place for people with disabilities in federal elections. This voting system must accommodate the blind and visually impaired as well as those needing dexterity assistance by providing an audio recording of the ballot and tactile controls while maintaining the same opportunity for privacy and independence as other voters receive.
What do I do if…
If you cannot stand in long lines, tell a poll worker. They will be able to provide you with a chair.
If someone will assist you, let the poll worker know this person is here to help you when you check in.
If you are not able vote in person because of a disability, you can use a mail-in ballot. Check the deadlines to request a mail-in ballot on your state's page.
If your voting location is not accessible, you can request curbside voting and report this issue to the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE so that other voters will not experience the same accessibilities in the future.
Which laws protect me?
There are four federal laws that protect the rights of disabled or elderly voters.
- Voting Rights Act of 1965: This law states that any voter requiring assistance may receive it from a person of their choice, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are that your employer, union, or someone acting for them cannot assist you.
- Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984: This law requires physical access to polling places used in federal elections. The law also requires states to make registration and voting aids accessible.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): This major civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the private and government sectors. ADA enacted a comprehensive set of national goals to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy equality of opportunity, full community participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
- Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA): HAVA expanded the objectives of ADA into our nation’s voting rights. This law requires jurisdictions responsible for conducting federal elections to provide at least one accessible voting system for individuals with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections. The voting systems must include nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired while providing the same opportunity for privacy and independence as other voters.