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Are You Vote Ready?
Educate, Engage, Participate
Dubbed the most important election year ever, 2020 is certainly the year to stay engaged, become educated and actively participate by using your voice through the voting process. For individuals with any form of disability, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires government entities of all levels provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to vote. If you, a loved one, friend or colleague has a disability, here are some things to keep in mind when going to the polls or placing your vote via absentee ballot.
Assistance casting your vote: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 designates that anyone who is blind or has any other form of disability has the right to receive assistance during the voting process by a person of their choice and they cannot be refused the right to vote based on their ability to read or write, their education level, or passing of an interpretation test.
Accessibility: Through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, any jurisdiction that conducts federal elections must provide at least one accessible polling area that provides the same opportunity for access, participation, privacy and independence that voters without a disability would receive.
If you’ve never voted or need information on the processes this year due to COVID-19, use these tips to help you through the pre-voting and voting process.
1) Call your state or local elections offices about voting laws, voter registration deadline, early voting and absentee voting deadlines, where accessible voting machines will be located, etc.
2) If you are not currently registered to vote, you can do so by Oct. 5. For information on how to register to vote in Arkansas, how to vote via absentee and more additional information click here to visit the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.
3) Determine the best voting method for you such as early voting, regular voting or absentee.
4) If voting in-person, identify polling places that are accessible. Unfortunately, not all polling places have the ability to provide accessible accommodations, especially in smaller communities. Accommodations could include having the polling place at a building that has an ADA compliant entry way with electronic doors and a ramp, and polling booths that offer additional space for assisted devices and offer privacy for voters.
For more information on local, state and federal laws, and tips for an accessible voting experience, visit these resources.
About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representatives from nonprofit and private organizations that serve Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, browse more pages on this website GCDD.arkansas.gov, or call 501-682-2897. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @gcddar. You can also find Arkansas GCDD on YouTube.
Assiah Lewellen, Program and Outreach Manager
Office of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration