Step-by-Step Guide to Voting with a Disability or Mental Health Diagnosis
Despite the fact that there are millions of American voters with a disability or mental health diagnosis, many polling places remain inaccessible. The resources below provide important information on your rights as a voter and accommodations you can request at the polling place.
If you’ve never voted before or find it intimidating, that’s okay! The tools below will walk you through the process step by step.
Check Your Voter Registration Status/Register to Vote:
The tool below will help you find if you are registered to vote (and if you’re registered at the right address). Not registered? This form will help you sign up in under 2 minutes!
Sign Up For Election Day Reminders (Optional):
Non-partisan voting group Rock the Vote offers a free tool that will text you reminders about upcoming election dates and voter registration deadlines.
Research the Candidates:
Not sure where to find reliable information on political candidates? We’ve included a couple of suggestions below!
- Check candidate websites and social media pages for official campaign position statements.
- Take the isidewith.com quiz. This non-partisan quiz asks for your position on political issues and then shows how often you agree/disagree with the congressional and presidential candidates on your ballot.
- Ballotopedia will show you a copy of your ballot (if available)
Learn Your Rights as a Voter With a Disability:
Several important laws have reinforced the right of individuals with physical and developmental disabilities to vote in an accessible polling place. When voting in person you have the right to:
- Vote independently and privately
- Receive assistance from a poll worker or another person of your choosing (family member, personal assistant, etc.)
- An accessible polling place free from barriers
- Bring your service animal into the polls with you
- Request a chair if you have trouble standing for long periods of time
- Request a quiet place to wait if you are overwhelmed around crowds
You do not have to disclose the nature of your disability to receive accommodations.
Apply For An Absentee Ballot (Optional):
An absentee ballot lets you legally complete your ballot at home and then mail it to the election commission instead of voting in person. In New York, individuals with temporary or permanent illness/disability and their primary caregivers are eligible to request an absentee ballot.
There are three ways to request an absentee ballot in New York:
- Go to your County Board of Election’s physical location and fill out a request
- Send a letter requesting an absentee ballot to your County Board of Elections. It must meet the following requirements:
- Be received no earlier than 30 days and no later than 7 days before the election
- Include the address where you are registered to vote
- Include the address you would like the ballot mailed to
- Include the reason you are requesting an absentee ballot
- Be signed
- Download and mail an absentee ballot request form:
IMPORTANT NOTE– Individuals with permanent disabilities may request to receive an absentee ballot for every election without having to re-apply each cycle. Just indicate permanent disability on your application. You do not need to disclose your diagnosis!
Coming Soon- Guide to Voting In Person With a Developmental Disability