It’s a big election year, and millions of Americans with disabilities will be heading to the polls to elect new officials and vote on important issues. But choosing the right candidate isn’t the only challenge they face. According to a Stanford Law professor, people with disabilities aren’t being accommodated at the polls.
Long lines and poor parking options are just a couple of the barriers that keep them from voting. However, disability advocates are working to change that. The United States Election Assistance Commission is working with officials from the Americans with Disabilities Act, have worked together to fund technologies that will make voting more accessible. And there are many other initiatives in place to help people with disabilities have their voices heard.
Know Your Rights
Voting is a right, and your local officials are responsible for making sure that everyone can exercise that right. But it’s up to us as citizens to hold them accountable. Knowing your rights is the first step to doing that.
The ADA’s checklist for polling places contains guidelines for everything from parking to doorways. It’s made for local officials who staff the polling places, but it can be a useful guide to read before you head to the polls.
Do you have an assistant? Use this video from Rooted in Rights to help get them up-to-speed on how to support you through the voting process:
There’s a lot you can do, both on a national and local level, to improve voting accessibility.
National Disability Voter Registration Week is July 11-15. There’s a training webinar on May 24th for those who want to participate. Participants will learn how to lead their own voter registration drives, both on and offline. After all, the first step to making your vote count is getting registered.
The National Disability Rights Network is the membership organization for Protection and Advocacy Systems and Client Assistance Programs. These programs help people with disabilities find advocates and support for a variety of issues, including voting. Find your local advocate or program here.
If you have any problems casting your vote, The Election Protection Coalition can help. Contact them to report your issues, or to ask questions about your rights.
No matter your stance on the candidates and the issues, we can all agree that everyone should be able to exercise their right to vote. Are you participating in any initiatives to make voting more accessible? We’d love to spread the word about it to our readers! Tell us about it below.
AHM Exposed is the blog for At Home Medical, which specializes in selling continence care and other medical supplies for those with disabilities.