Joseph Tringali: Voting accessibility for the disabled

Published: 7/11/2022 3:51:29 PM
Modified: 7/11/2022 3:48:42 PM

Voting is one of our nation’s most fundamental rights and a hallmark of our democracy. Yet for too long, many people with disabilities have been excluded from this core aspect of citizenship.

People with intellectual or mental health disabilities have been prevented from voting because of prejudicial assumptions about their capabilities. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids, such as walkers, have been unable to enter the polling place to cast their ballot because there was no ramp. People who are blind or have low vision could not cast their vote because the ballot was completely inaccessible to them.

Important federal civil rights laws were enacted to combat such forms of discrimination and protect the fundamental right to vote for all Americans. This document provides guidance to states, local jurisdictions, election officials, poll workers, and voters on how the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws help ensure fairness in the voting process for people with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that provides protections to people with disabilities that are similar to protections provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments (“public entities”) 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.

Joe Tringali

Amherst


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