Election Workers Guide to Serving Voters with Disabilities

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Disability Rights Texas Handout
Last updated: January 2013
Publication Code: n/a

Election Workers Guide to Serving Voters with Disabilities

This handout is available in Braille and/or on audio tape upon request.

General tips

  • Assume competence and treat every voter with respect.
  • Be patient to those who need extra time to communicate or cast their ballot.
  • Offer assistance, but don’t begin to assist someone before asking if they want help.
  • If you don’t know what type of assistance someone needs, just ask.
  • Inform people of right to use an accessible machine.
  • Allow voters with disabilities to receive assistance from any person of their choice (besides their employer or union representative).
  • Remember that some disabilities are invisible.
  • Don’t question a person about their disability.
  • Offer curbside voting to someone having trouble getting into polling place.

Serving voters who use wheelchairs or have mobility limitations

  • Don’t start pushing a wheelchair without first asking if assistance is needed.
  • Sit while talking to someone in a wheelchair, so they don’t have to look up.
  • Don’t lean or hang on someone’s wheelchair.
  • Don’t offer to carry someone up stairs or into an inaccessible space.
  • Provide a place to sit or line preference for individuals who cannot stand for a long time.

Serving voters who are blind or have low vision

  • Don’t touch, pet or distract an assistive animal.
  • Greet the person by telling them who and where you are.
  • Provide a guiding device such as a ruler or card for signing forms.
  • Offer to explain how the accessible machines work.
  • If the voter needs assistance getting to the voting booth, guide them by voice or by offering your arm. Do not touch the individual without asking.
  • Offer assistance, but allow individuals to cast votes independently if they prefer.

Serving deaf or hard of hearing voters

  • Don’t shout at a person who is deaf.
  • Some voters read lips. Keep good eye contact and don’t chew gum.
  • Keep pen and paper for voters who may be able to communicate by passing notes.
  • Understand that some voters will require a sign language interpreter.
  • If voter is using a sign language interpreter, maintain eye contact with the voter directly, not their interpreter.

Serving voters with communications disabilities

  • Ask someone you don’t understand to repeat what they said.
  • Don’t pretend to understand what someone says or complete someone’s sentences.

For help, call the Disability Rights Texas’ Voting Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683)



Disability Rights Texas logo

www.DRTx.org
Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Main Line: 512-454-4816

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.