We all can agree that 2020 has thrown us for a loop. While we continue to navigate a global pandemic and economic crisis, the upcoming election holds a lot of importance. As people vote for the future of our country, every voice deserves to be heard.
“There are an estimated 38.3 million eligible voters with disabilities in the U.S., according to a report out this month from the Rutgers Program for Disability Research. That represents an 19.8% increase since 2008 and outpaces a 12% rise in voters without disabilities during the same period.” – Disability Scoop
Since people with disabilities and their family members tend to place a higher priority on healthcare and make up almost 40 million voters, you have the potential to make an impact this election. The disability community has just as much right to decide what tomorrow looks like for them and for everyone.
It’s Your Right.
Voting is one of the most basic and important rights for every American. Unfortunately, for too long in the past, people with disabilities have been discluded from voting due to assumptions on their capabilities. Today, the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to vote.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. The ADA’s provisions apply to all aspects of voting, including voter registration, site selection, and the casting of ballots, whether on Election Day or during an early voting process.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA)
- Requires election officials to allow a voter who is blind or has another disability to receive assistance from a person of the voter’s choice. The VRA also prohibits conditioning the right to vote on a citizen being able to read or write, attaining a particular level of education, or passing an interpretation “test.”
The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA)
- Requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA)
- Aims to increase the historically low registration rates of persons with disabilities.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA)
- Requires jurisdictions responsible for conducting federal elections to provide at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections.
The Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits a state from categorically disqualifying all individuals who have intellectual or mental disabilities from registering to vote or from voting because of their disability. You can find this information on the Americans with Disabilities Act website: https://www.ada.gov/ada_voting/ada_voting_ta.htm
All Locations Need to be Accessible.
The ADA also means that all voting facilities must be accessible for people with disabilities. To ensure each polling place is accessible for all, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design explains what makes a facility accessible for each building. You can always call your place of voting ahead of time to ensure all aspects of their facility is accessible and meets ADA requirements.
Your Voice Matters.
Every community, big and small, is made up of people from all different backgrounds and abilities. That is the beauty of America. Every person with a disability has the right to vote – and your vote matters! We hope we have encouraged (and maybe even empowered) you to go vote on November 3rd or cast your ballot from home. Every voice deserves to be represented at a legislative level.