Election day, November 8, is right around the corner. Several federal laws protect the voting rights of older Americans and people with disabilities and require accessible polling places.
Here are some voting resources for older adults and people with disabilities :
· USA.gov/Voting has information on how to vote, voter registration requirements and deadlines, and locating your state or local election office website.
· The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has more information about voting laws, enforcement actions, and how to file a complaint if you feel your voting rights have been violated.
· Individuals living in long-term care facilities who have concerns about exercising their right to vote can contact their long-term care ombudsman program by looking them up at the National Ombudsman Resource Center.
· Some Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers may offer rides. Visit the Eldercare Locator website to find one in your community.
State Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) are another valuable resource. The Voting Access Program, Help America Vote Act (HAVA) administered by ACL, provides funding to P&As to support efforts to ensuring full participation by people with disabilities in the electoral process, including registering to vote, casting a vote, and accessing polling places.
P&As are responsible for the following HAVA activities:
· Full participation in the electoral process;
· Education, training and assistance;
· Advocacy and education around HAVA implementation efforts;
· Training and education of election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers regarding the rights of voters with disabilities and best practices;
· Assistance in filing complaints;
· Assistance to state and other governmental entities regarding the physical accessibility of polling places; and
· Obtaining training and technical assistance on voting issues.
Each P&A determines the best mix of HAVA services to provide based on the needs of their community. To find your state P&A for requesting assistance with voting, visit this website and select your state.
Finally, the Southeast ADA Center has compiled an up-to-date Resource List (PDF) with more information on accessible voting.