Casting a vote on Election Day is a fundamental right to all U.S. citizens, including people with disabilities. Several laws, including the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), have reinforced and strengthened this right to ensure equal access to all people with disabilities.
Leading the way for equal voting access for everyone
Since 1946, Paralyzed Veterans of America has taken a lead role in ensuring voting is accessible to all people with disabilities. Major laws, including the ADA, the 1984 Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) have paved the way for improved voter access. In fact, streamlined voter registration, more accessible polling places and alternatives such as electronic voting, now exist, in part because of Paralyzed Veterans of America's tireless advocacy.
We're making progress. But there’s still work to be done.
While a lot of progress has been made, there is still work to be done to improve voter access for people with disabilities. An Election Assistance Commission-funded study of the 2012 elections found that 30 percent of voters with disabilities reported difficulties in voting at a polling station.
Over the next 25 years, estimates show more than one third of all voters will require some form of assistance at polling stations. That's why protecting voter access should be a priority for federal, state and local leaders.
The federal government provides a variety of resources for persons with disabilities and their families as well as states and municipalities to utilize in the final weeks leading up to the 2016 elections on Tuesday, November 8.
Five resources to help ensure that everyone who wants a vote, gets a vote:
- Register to Vote
If you're not already registered, use this state-by-state guide to learn about voter registration procedures and deadlines. Visit USA.gov for more information.
- Know the voting process in your state
This convenient tip sheet from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission offers important information such as checking the accessibility of your polling place and communicating your needs in advance. 10 Tips for Voters with Disabilities.
- Choose the right voting method for you
This free resource from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission will help you find out about the voting methods available, what they are and how to use them. 14 Facts About Voting in Federal Elections.
- Be prepared and know your rights
Polling place accessibility is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This ADA resource will provide you with the detailed information about the key areas of any polling place that must be accessible to voters – from parking to ramps and entrances. ADA Checklist for Polling Places.
- What to do if something goes wrong with the voting process
If you experience a problem at your polling place, you can file an ADA complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Help protect the voting rights for all U.S. Citizens
Paralyzed Veterans of America is advocating for restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), which prohibits discrimination against minority groups – including those with disabilities – in voting. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the primary enforcement provision of the VRA, challenging Congress to develop new legislation in its place. Congress has since failed to act, and 2016 will mark the first election in 50 years that the VRA has not been in place. Learn more about the Voting Rights Act.