14. Voting & the ADA

Stacy: Hi I’m Stacy, I’m an information specialist at the ADA  and I’m here with my boss Kathy.

Kathy: Elections are coming up, so we are starting to receive questions about voting.  Just the other day an individual who is blind called.  She wants to vote but often doesn’t because she is worried about keeping her vote private . Using a polling volunteer who will read and cast her vote for her, doesn’t feel very private. What if the person disagrees with her vote, could they just change it  or toss out her ballot?

Stacy: No, polling volunteers cannot change a voter’s ballot. As a matter of fact several laws, including the Help America Vote Act, guarantee that people with disabilities have the right to register and to vote in a secure and confidential environment.

Kathy: How does it work for this caller?

Stacy: She could also bring a trusted companion to help her read the ballot, or use a voting machine that is accessible because it provides audio or works with a screen reader.

Kathy: Are there other ways of providing support for voters who are blind or have low vision?

Stacy: Yes; Information, such as referendum questions, in large print and audio recording of printed information.

Kathy:  And I know that voting polls have to be physically accessibile which includes; an accessible route from all drop off points to the voting area and at least one accessible voting booth so that a person in a wheelchair can vote.

Stacy: There are several laws that ensure the rights of people with disabilities to register to vote and to cast ballots in privacy. Go register and go vote!