As Americans head to the polls, voters with disabilities may wonder if their local polling places are accessible. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that many public places utilize accessibility tools such as ramps and automatic doors. However, voting with disabilities can still be a difficult process. In this post, we identify some common difficulties disabled voters may experience, and how to counteract them.
Voting with Disabilities: Common Obstacles
35 million eligible voters in the United States are disabled. In the last presidential election, 1/3 of these voters experienced difficulties trying to cast their ballots. These difficulties included:
- Difficulty seeing or reading the ballot
For blind, visually impaired, and dyslexic individuals, the ballot’s fine print can be hard to read. Fortunately, many polling places now offer ballots in Braille and larger print for voters who need this assistance.
- Waiting in line
Voting can be a nightmare for people who find it difficult to stand for long periods of time. During this year’s primaries, huge amounts of voters flooded Utah caucus sites. Lines reached over a half-mile long, and some voters waited for over two hours. One potential solution for this problem is to vote by mail, although voters will need to start this process before election day.
- Writing on the ballot
Many disabilities make writing difficult. Many polling places now use electronic machines rather than paper ballots, which helps solve this issue. Some also use “sip-and-puff” tubes, to help those with limited use of their hands.
- Getting inside the polling place
Accessibility is not always as easy as it seems. Wheelchair ramps are often too steep, making them difficult to ascend alone. Frequently, doors are too narrow for wheelchairs to get through. However, many polling places have workers responsible for helping disabled individuals in these situations.
Options for Disabled Voters
If you are disabled and seeking accessible ways to vote, you can find out how well your local polling place accommodates voting with disabilities. Enter your address on this site to see where your polling place is, then call your local board of elections. They can provide specific information about the polls and their accessibility.
If voting in person is a challenge, another option is voting by mail. This allows you to make your own accommodations. This way, you can fulfill your civic duty from the comfort of your own home.
Your Local Disability Lawyers
Disabled Americans have the right to vote, and they also have the right to disability benefits if they qualify for them. At Summit Disability Law Group, we are committed to helping our clients get the benefits they need and have paid for through taxes. If you think you may qualify for benefits, please contact us today. We will help you build a strong claim.
From a free initial consultation about your case, to possible appeals and hearings, we will be with you every step of the way.