Voting is an important way for people to make decisions and express their opinions. Voting helps to decide who will speak for you on the rights, supports, funding programs and services you need in your life. US Department of Justice Guide to Disability Rights Laws describes two laws that are of vital importance for people with disabilities as follows:
Voters with Disabilities
NCD Releases Report on Experiences of Voters with Disabilities
The National Council on Disability (NCD) has released a report about the experiences of voters with disabilities during the 2012 general election. The report examines the impact of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 through the experiences of nearly 900 voters with disabilities across the nation.
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the national self advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities, is excited to announce non-partisan materials and resources that are user friendly for everyone interested in the voting process. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the new and improved Voter Education Tool Kit "Your Vote is Your Voice for Our Nation's Future!"
SABE's National Technical Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access (NTAC) invites people who want to learn about voting to their website, www.govoter.org. Both new and experienced voters can select topics they are interested in learning about and resources to help them. We want organizations and groups to be able to support people with disabilities to become better informed about the importance of their vote and how to increase voting in their community.
Our Voter Education Tool Kit is a curriculum that has been field tested for over 10 years. In 2013 the 6th Edition of the Tool Kit was placed on the GoVoter.org website. In the past, vote team trainers were the only people who could use the curriculum. NOW, with the Tool Kit on the website, it is available for everyone to use.
You can now download and edit the toolkit from our website. What does that mean? If you would like to have training about voting, you can add examples and information specific to your state to the curriculum. You can then download the individualized curriculum for your state training needs. Another new item that we're really proud of is our "Best Practices for Partnering" topic in the toolkit. We hope this leads to many productive partnerships and working relationships between organizations to increase voting opportunities for people with disabilities.
Help us let others know about our resource. Place an article in your newsletter, website, Facebook, twitter about the Tool Kit to your membership. Place a link to our website on your web page and "like us" on Facebook. We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you further about how to educate and support voters with and without disabilities to get their voices heard. This is a great resource for high school civics classes, leadership programs, and educating the community at large about the power of everyone's vote.
If you have any questions or ideas you would like to talk about, please feel free to contact Nancy Ward, Co-Director, SABE's National Technical Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for sharing news about our Voter Education Tool Kit "Your Vote is Your Voice For Our Nation's Future!"
Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act
The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 generally requires polling places across the United States to be physically accessible to people with disabilities for federal elections. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, a political subdivision must provide an alternate means of casting a ballot on the day of the election. This law also requires states to make available registration and voting aids for disabled and elderly voters, including information by TTYs (also known as TDDs) or similar devices.
National Voter Registration Act
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the "Motor Voter Act," makes it easier for all Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote. One of the basic purposes of the Act is to increase the historically low registration rates of minorities and persons with disabilities that have resulted from discrimination. The Motor Voter Act requires all offices of State-funded programs that are primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities to provide all program applicants with voter registration forms, to assist them in completing the forms, and to transmit completed forms to the appropriate State official.
For more information about either of these acts, please contact:
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Voting Section - 1800 G
Washington, D.C. 20530
(800) 253-3931 (voice/TTY)