How to Vote with a Disability in the 2020 Election
Voting is a constitutional right for all adult United States citizens, but for people with disabilities, the process can be extremely frustrating and even impossible. Historically, people with disabilities have not exercised their right to vote at the same rate as those without disabilities due to the multitude of barriers that exist. Some barriers are physical such as inaccessible polling entrances and voting booths. Others are programmatic, i.e. limited training for election inspectors and absentee ballots that are not compatible with assistive technology.
If you are a person with a disability, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides you with equal voting rights whether you choose to vote in person or at home. For the 2020 election, Michigan has ramped up its accessible voting options. Individuals wishing to vote in person should call their township clerk in advance to confirm their designated site is accessible. In the event that it is not, the clerk will direct them to one in their area that is. Overall, voters with disabilities should find the majority of polling places to:
- Be barrier-free, i.e. entrances, lighting, and seating
- Utilize election inspectors that are aware of the requirement to provide accommodations
- Allow another person to assist the voter when casting their ballot, this includes requesting help from election inspectors
- Have a Voter Assist Terminal available; this device marks the ballot for the voter
Those who prefer or need to vote at home can request an absentee ballot that allows them to use an electronic device and assistive technology of their choosing. Individuals must apply online for an Electronic Ballot
Click Voters with Disabilities if you need further detail or would like to learn more about what Michigan is doing to encourage people with disabilities to get out and vote.