Election Day is right around the corner. People with a vision impairment should feel comfortable in knowing they can exercise their right to vote. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 guarantee those with disabilities equal access to the voting process.
Before you decide how you’ll cast your vote, it is important to study your voter rights. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has created a Federal Voting Rights Braille card. You can call or email the commission at the link above to request one.
You can choose to cast your vote via an absentee ballot or by visiting your assigned polling station. Use Vote.org to check your voter registration, find your polling place and track your absentee ballot. Begin this search by selecting your state from the list on the site.
If you do decide to vote with an absentee ballot, you will need to keep track of important deadlines. Each state has its own deadlines for registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot and mailing in the ballot. Nebraska’s final day to request a mailed absentee ballot is Oct 23. Use this website to check important deadlines in your state.
If you decide to vote using an absentee ballot, you’ll need sighted assistance if you have a vision impairment. Having a trusted friend or family member fill it out for you can ensure your privacy. When completed, you can either return it by mail or drop it off at your city clerk’s office. Your vote won’t count if it isn’t received after the deadline. Having it postmarked on the due date won’t allow it to be counted either. So, don’t wait too long to vote and send it in.
If you opt to head to the polls on Nov 3, or during early voting, you can use an accessible voting machine to cast your ballot independently. HAVA requires all polling stations to have at least one accessible machine available during all federal elections. Request access to the voting machine when you arrive. you will use a keypad, headphones or a touch screen to make your ballot selections. Depending on your needs, you can adjust print contrast and speech settings. If you are told an accessible machine is not available or if you cannot use it for any reason, report your experience to your local election office.
You can also ask a poll station worker or companion to help you fill out your ballot.
Fulfilling your civic duty is a personal decision. If you decide to cast your vote, but have a vision impairment we hope this post has provided you with enough information to allow you to determine which voting method will serve you best.