by Lauren Appelbaum, RespectAbility Communications Director
Washington, D.C., Nov. 5 – As voters head to the polls, many are concerned about various access issues from physical accessibility to voter ID laws. This is a federal election year; additionally, many state legislative seats, state executive offices, local offices and ballot amendments will be voted on. We’ve compiled resources provided by general Election Day voter rights organizations as well as those provided by various disability groups.
See below for apps and information on where to vote, how to vote and who to contact in case there is an issue. Voters with disabilities have every right to vote. If you have a problem voting due to lack of access for disability, contact 866-OUR-VOTE to talk to lawyers on hand to answer Election Day questions and concerns about voting procedures, or other resources listed below, immediately. Please let us know as well by emailing LaurenA@RespectAbility.org. Did we miss an important resource? Share with us and we’ll update this guide.
Election Day Assistance
Rock the Vote has several online tools that simplify and demystify voter registration and elections. Follow the links below for more on how to claim your vote!
- Check your registration
- Voter requirements
- Find your polling place
- State election information & learn about your candidates
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission created a tip sheet to help voters with disabilities vote privately and independently.
Easter Seals, AAPD and the REVUP campaign created a checklist for voters with disabilities. Download their voting resource card to take with you to the polls! The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has compiled an extensive voter resource center to help people register to vote, learn about the issues and organized the disability vote. The REV UP campaign, a project of AAPD, aims to increase the political power of the disability community, while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. One Vote Now, a collaborative project between National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, DREDF, AAPD, RespectAbility and the National Disability Rights Network, is working to enhance the voting bloc of people with disabilities.
The Voting Information Project supports a SMS Tool that provides voters with election information via text message. By texting “VOTE” or “VOTO” to GOVOTE (468-683), voters can find polling places, contact information for local election officials, and registration URLs. The app is available in multiple languages.
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, in partnership with several other disability advocacy organizations, published A Guide to the Voting Rights of People with Mental Disabilities. This newly updated guide lists key legal principles, provides information about state laws and practices that limit the voting rights of people with mental disabilities, and offers tools to help people with disabilities preserve or restore their voting rights. Learn more: www.bazelon.org/our-work/voting.
Need help getting to the polls?
In addition to contacting your local candidates’ office, reach out to Carpool Vote, a service connecting volunteer drivers with anybody who needs a ride to claim their vote. Transportation often is a factor for why people with disabilities do not vote and Carpool Vote is aiming to change that.
- Offer to drive or request a ride online: http://carpoolvote.com
- For help using Carpool Vote, call or SMS: 804-424-5335
In addition, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is partnering with Lyft, a popular ride-hailing app, to help blind voters get to the polls. Lyft has provided NFB’s national headquarters with a number of promotion codes, worth $15 each, which are being distributed through eleven of their affiliates: Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Contact your affiliate president if you could benefit from one of these codes, contact information is here: complete list of our affiliates and their leaders.
What if I go to the polls and they tell me I am not registered to vote?
First, make sure you are at the right polling place. If you are at the wrong polling place, they will not have your name on list of voters. If you are at the correct location and are not on the list, you still can cast a ballot. Ask the poll worker for a provisional ballot. After the polls close on Election Day, the state will check on the status of your voter registration and if there was a mistake made. The state must notify you as to whether your ballot was counted.
On Election Day, if I think my rights have been violated, what should I do?
If you have any questions at the polls, first ask an election official on site for assistance. If they are unable to assist or if you believe they violated your voting rights, then contact the Election Protection Coalition, a nonpartisan coalition working year-round to advance and defend your right to vote. They have lawyers standing by to answer your call:
- Visit 866ourvote.org
- 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) – English
- 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) – Spanish
- 844-YALLA-US – Arabic
- 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) – Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu or Tagalog
- 301-818-VOTE – American Sign Language
- Text “Our Vote” to 97779
- The Arc of the United States’ Voter Support Service for people with disabilities is a site that helps voters report and resolve voting barriers in real time.
- Call the Voting Rights Alliance command center at 202-536-5400
- The Department of Justice, Voting Section at www.justice.gov/crt/contacting-voting-section, 800-253-3931 or 202-514-0716 (TTY)
State Protection and Advocacy Voter Assistance Hotlines
The National Council on Independent Living compiled a directory of Protection and Advocacy voter assistance hotlines that address the voting barriers specifically affecting voters with disabilities, listed by state:
- Alabama: Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program – (205) 348-4928
- Alaska: Disability Law Center of Alaska – (800) 478-1234
- American Samoa: Office of Protection & Advocacy – (684) 633-2441
- Arizona: Arizona Center for Disability Law – (602) 274-6287
- Arkansas: Disability Rights Arkansas – (800) 482-1174
- California: Disability Rights California – (888) 569-7955
- Colorado: Disability Law Colorado – (303) 722-0300
- Connecticut: Disability Rights Connecticut – (860) 297-4300
- Delaware: Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. – (302) 575-0660
- District of Columbia: Disability Rights DC – (202) 547-0198
- Florida: Disability Rights Florida – (800) 342-0823
- Georgia: The Georgia Advocacy Office – (404) 885-1234
- Guam: Guam Legal Services – (671) 477-9811
- Hawaii: Hawaii Disability Rights Center – (800) 882-1057
- Idaho: Disability Rights Idaho – (208) 336-5353
- Illinois: Equip for Equality – (800) 537-2632
- Indiana: Indiana Disability Rights – (800) 622-4845
- Iowa: Disability Rights Iowa – (800) 779-2502
- Kansas: Disability Rights Center of Kansas – (877) 776-1541
- Kentucky: Kentucky Protection & Advocacy – (800) 372-2988
- Louisiana: Advocacy Center – (800) 960-7705
- Maine: Disability Rights Maine – (800) 452-1948
- Maryland: Disability Rights Maryland – (443) 692-2492
- Massachusetts: Disability Law Center, Inc. – (800) 872-9992
- Michigan: Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services – (800) 288-5923
- Minnesota: Minnesota Disability Law Center – (800) 292-4150
- Mississippi: Disability Rights Mississippi – (601) 968-0600
- Missouri: Missouri Protection & Advocacy – (573) 893-3333
- Montana: Disability Rights Montana – (406) 449-2344
- Nebraska: Disability Rights Nebraska – (800) 422-6691
- Nevada: Nevada Disability Advocacy & Law Center – (888) 349-3843
- New Hampshire: Disability Rights Center New Hampshire – (800) 834-1721
- New Jersey: Disability Rights New Jersey – (609) 292-9742
- New Mexico: Disability Rights New Mexico – (800) 432-4682
- New York: Disability Rights New York – (800) 993-8982
- North Carolina: Disability Rights North Carolina – (877) 235-4210
- North Dakota: North Dakota Protection & Advocacy – (701) 328-2950
- Ohio: Disability Rights Ohio – (800) 282-9181
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. – (800) 880-7755
- Oregon: Disability Rights Oregon – (888) 339-VOTE
- Pennsylvania: Disability Rights Pennsylvania – (215) 238-8070
- Puerto Rico: Office of the Governor/Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities – (787) 725-2333
- Rhode Island: Rhode Island Disability Law Center – (401) 831-3150
- South Carolina: Protection & Advocacy of South Carolina – (866) 275-7273
- South Dakota: Disability Rights South Dakota – (800) 658-4782
- Tennessee: Disability Rights Tennessee – (800) 342-1660
- Texas: Disability Rights Texas – (888) 796-VOTE
- Utah: Disability Law Center – (800) 662-9080
- Vermont: Disability Rights Vermont – (800) 834-7890
- Virgin Islands: Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands – (340) 772-1200
- Virginia: disAbility Law Center of Virginia – (800) 552-3962
- Washington: Disability Rights Washington – (800 562-2702
- West Virginia: Disability Rights West Virginia – (304) 346-0847
- Wisconsin: Disability Rights Wisconsin – (844) DIS-VOTE
- Wyoming: Wyoming Protection & Advocacy System – (877) 249-6167