By Michelle Mason
People with disabilities have equal rights under both state and federal law. These laws allow people with disabilities to have complete access to the voting process.
Accessibility Laws Protecting people with disabilities.
In Ohio, the voting locations are required by state and federal law to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Americans With Disabilities Act ( ADA)
The ADA helps protect people with disabilities to make sure they are treated fairly, within state and local government services, programs and activities.
ADA helps to make sure that people with disabilities can:
Apply for the same jobs.
Receive the same state and local governments services.
Use the same public places, facilities, and transportation.
Access voting locations in the same way that the other voters do.
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
HAVA helps people with disabilities vote by making sure that:
People who are blind or have problems seeing get the help they need.
Voting is private and personal
Each polling location has at least one voting machine that is accessible for people with disabilities.
HAVA voting systems used in elections for federal office must “be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for privacy and independence.
HAVA says that the state can comply with this rule “through the use of at least one direct recording electronic voting system”
If there is a polling location that is not accessible, and you have a disability you are unable to enter the polling place. You can vote curbside. Which means that two precinct election officials from the major political parties will bring a ballot to you.
You may sit in you car and vote, or you may vote at the door of the building.
Absentee Voting by Mail
Absentee voting by mail gives all people, the opportunity to vote without having to travel to their polling location. You can request an absentee ballot after Jan. 1st, or 90 days before the date of an election.
The information that you will need to give to your county board of elections:
Your legal signature;
The address where you are registered to vote;
Your birth date;
One of the following to show proof of your identification:
Your driver’s license number or
The last four digits of your Social Security number or
A copy of your current and valid photo identification, military identification, or a current utility bill, current bank statement, current paystub, or other government document that shows your name, and current address.
A statement that you are a qualified elector;
If you want the ballot to be mailed to you, the address to which you want it mailed.
The Ohio Revised Code requires that polling locations are free of barriers, with nothing blocking the entrances or exits. Also, polling location must have ramps, wide doors, and accessible parking
If you have any questions or need information, you can
Call the Ohio Secretary of State’s ADA Coordinator at (614) 387-6039
For general information call:
Local: (614) 466-2585
Toll Free: (877) 767-6446
TTY Local: (614) 728-3295
TTY Toll Free: (877) 889-6446