SALN and the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities have worked together to help people with developmental disabilities understand their rights as citizens to vote and to learn about the tools and technologies available to ensure they can exercise their right to vote.
Ask To Use It!
As we move into the election cycle for 2016 here in Idaho, be aware that your local polling place has very specific requirements in terms of providing accessible voting options to anyone with a disability. While the federal Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) requirements are specifically reserved for federal elections, wouldn’t it be GREAT if accessible voting procedures were available for every local and regional election as well! The best way to get attention to the issue is for EVERYONE to speak up and ASK TO USE IT! Ask your County Clerks’ office what accessible voting options are available at your local polling center. Ask if they will have assistive voting devices available. Ask if they will have hand held magnifiers or magnifying sheets available for those with vision difficulties. Ask if an accessible voting machine (typically called a ballot marking device) will be set up and ready to use or if they have something else available to assist a voter with a disability and if so, ASK TO USE IT! Here are some additional options you should inquire/ask about:
- Curbside voting – where an elections official brings the ballot to you (or your passenger) in your vehicle curbside and assists you with marking the ballot (if requested).
- Early voting – each county will have their own early voting schedule and will make available a sample ballot prior to the scheduled election so voters can review their choices ahead of time and even vote early.
- Absentee voting – prior to the election, you may request that a ballot be mailed to your address so you can independently (or with your choice of personal assistance) mark your choices and mail it back before the deadline.
- Accessible polling places – each polling location MUST be wheelchair accessible including the location of the ballot marking device itself (if being used) and also must have accessible restrooms.
- Ballot Marking Devices – required at FEDERAL elections, however some counties in Idaho are opting to provide the ballot marking devices at the local and state elections as well.
If we consistently ASK TO USE IT, the counties will take notice that accessible voting requests are on the rise and they will be even more prepared to provide accessible options! Accessible voting rights are YOUR rights and they are HERE TO STAY!