Resources, Rights, & Responsibilities
Answering questions about voting
In light of the National Disability Voter Registration Week (July 11—15) and the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Arc of the Capital Area wants to promote voter registration for the Central Texas community of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In the 2012 presidential election, 56.8% of people with disabilities voted compared to 62.5% of people without disabilities. Preparing for the national election with big decisions regarding the presidential ticket and local elections, we have provided answers below to the many questions and issues regarding voting for individuals with I/DD.
How and when do I register to vote?
You can register in person at the Voter Registrar office in your county or fill out the application and mail it to the Voter Registrar office. You simply need a Texas issued personal identification number, driver’s license number, or social security number. The last day to register to vote before the general election is October 11, 2016. Be sure to come out to vote on November 8th. Early voting is also available from October 24—November 4. More information about registration can be found here.
How do guardianship orders affect voter eligibility?
All guardianships in Texas instated after Sept. 1, 2007 are required to state whether the ward retains the right to vote. If you are interested in modifying guardianship orders, seek assistance from Disability Rights Texas.
What are the alternatives to voting in person?
One alternative available for people with disabilities is a mail-in ballot. You must apply for the ballot by mail by October 28, 2016, and send the ballot to be received at the election office by November 8, 2016.
How accessible and accommodating are the polls?
In 1999, Texas became the first state to require that all new voting systems be accessible to voters with disabilities and provide a practical and effective means for voters with disabilities to cast a secret ballot. See more information at: Services Available to Voters with Special Needs in Texas. You also have the right to:
- Ask to move to the front of the line
- Bring someone to help you
- Have headphones to hear your ballot
- Have sample ballots in alternative format
- Have accessible parking
- Have temporary ramps
- Use a communication board
- Access voting machines for voters in wheelchairs
- Use different colored voting screens.
Why is it important to vote?
The policies decided by the elected candidates will influence rights, programs, and opportunities that impact us all. It is important to contribute every individual’s voice on the issues and representatives in this election. Through exercising self-determination and decision-making abilities, voting promotes advocacy skills and community participation. Voters decide what they value and are empowered to take the first step of action at the polls.
We hope to see you at the polls!
Broadway, Molly. “Voting: A Practice in Self-determination and Client Autonomy.” Disability Rights Texas. Lecture.
“REV Up Campaign.” (n.d.): n. pag. American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Disability Rights Texas. Web. <http://www.aapd.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/REV-UP-Toolkit-TX.pdf>.
“Statistics – AAPD.” AAPD. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2016. <http://www.aapd.com/our-focus/voting/statistics/>.
“Vote Texas.” Voters With Special Needs. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.