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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Know Your Rights When You Vote Tuesday, November 6, 2012!

My Voice My Vote 2010 Protest SignPeople with disabilities have the right to vote!

Everyone needs to vote this year, including voters with mental disabilities. If you are a voter with a disability, you should know your rights. Knowing your rights will help make sure you can vote. Take this piece of paper with you when you go to vote so that you know what your rights are.

You can also show this to others if you run into any problems. This flyer tells lawyers and poll workers where to find the laws that protect your right to vote!

You do have the right to vote! If you are a person with a disability and understand what it means to vote, Federal law guarantees your right to vote. 

  • The law that gives you that right: The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132; Doe v. Rowe, 156 F.Supp.2d 35 (D.Me.2001).

You have the right to get help from a person you choose. If you can’t read or need help voting because of your disability, you can have someone help you vote. You can bring a friend, family member, or someone else you trust. You can also ask the poll worker to help you if you didn’t bring anyone with you.

  • The law that gives you that right: The Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§1973aa-6; The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132

If you have a problem, you can get help by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Lawyers are available to give voters with disabilities and other voters advice and help with voting problems, so call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

The law says everyone gets to cast a ballot, so don’t leave without voting! Even if someone says you cannot vote, the law says the poll worker must allow you to vote a Provisional Ballot. Later, an election worker will determine whether you are qualified to vote. If you are, your vote will be counted.

  • The law that gives you that right: The Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15482

For more information about the rights of voters with disabilities, visit

After you vote, the National Council on Disability, in collaboration with the National Disability Rights Network and EIN SOF Communications, Inc., wants to hear from you about your voting experiences during the 2012 election. Take their survey online. The survey is also available as a Word document.

Source: National Disability Rights Network
900 Second Street NE, Suite 211 / Washington, DC 20002-3560
Phone: 202.408.9514
Fax: 202.408.9520
TTY: 202.408.9521


  1. I am trying to figure out what I can do next to ensure that what happened to me at the polls does not happen to someone else. My story comes from the angle of being a severely hearing impaired citizen. My ADA rights were trampled on. You can read about it here. I’m not sure who to contact about this matter besides the ACLU in my state…

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