Required Voting Accommodations for Disabled Individuals
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed March 17, 2020
Did you know that the law requires that both communications about accommodations and actual accommodations be made for those with disabilities? And that all citizens with the right to vote have a right to proper accommodations? Keep reading to find out more info on voting options (and accommodations) for people with disabilities.
Not All Disabilities Are Created Equal – But Voting Rights Are
No two people are alike, and the same is true for disabilities. But everyone deemed mentally capable has the right to vote, regardless of their disability. This holds true for people who require special accommodations in order to vote.
So, what is considered a disability? A disability can be physical or mental, or a combination of both. This could include anything from visual impairments (such as blindness) to mental health issues and mobility issues for the elderly.
Can I Vote If I Have a Disability?
To ensure that individuals have access to vote in local, state, and federal elections, there are federal protections in place like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a law that protects individuals with disabilities, giving them equal opportunity to vote. This includes protections with everything from:
- Communications about upcoming elections
- Voter registration accommodations
- Accommodations on election day
You can ask about accommodations for registering, voting, and more by visiting your local Secretary of State website. Read more about the ADA's checklist for polling spots and accommodations if you have questions, including accessible voting stall designs, parking, and more.
Curbside Voting for People With Disabilities
Many states offer curbside voting, which is intended for individuals who are unable to physically enter a polling place. Curbside voting allows you to vote right from your vehicle. You can drive right up to a voting place (or within a certain distance of the voting place) and wait until an elected officials comes to your vehicle and brings you a ballot. Check with your local polling place to see if this option is available and get more info.
Voting Machines and Accessibility
When it comes to voting machines, it's safe to say that the designs are meant to serve (and be accessible) to the vast majority of individuals. The problem is that not all machines are made with complete accessibility, including access to those with disabilities. Some states offer sip and puff options and other technology to help individuals with disabilities mark their ballots. Check your state laws to learn what options are required at your polling place.
Have Questions About Accommodations?
If you have questions or concerns about voting accommodations, check your local Secretary of State website or get in touch with an attorney.