Everyone Has the Right to Vote

The General Election will take place this Tuesday, November 3. If you are a person with a disability, voting in this election is an especially powerful act. It has taken decades of advocacy to give full legal support to the right of people with disabilities to vote.

With the passage of the Voting Rights Act 1965, the right of citizens with disabilities to vote had at least a limited amount of legal protection. Later legal changes allowed people with disabilities to bring an assistant to help them vote and required polling places to provide auxiliary aids like large print and audio instructions.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. The ADA broadened voting accessibility even further for people with disabilities. While previous laws applied only to federal elections, the ADA included all elections on every level. It also expanded the availability of absentee voting, which made voting much easier for people with mobility challenges.

Voting today can still be difficult for people with disabilities, despite all of the progress that has been made. If you notice that your polling place isn’t accessible, or are aware of a person with a disability having difficulties (including yourself), help is availability. Disability Rights New Jersey will have attorneys available by phone to assist with any questions or concerns you may have. They can be reached at 1-800-922-7233 or 609-633-7106 (TTY) from 7 am – 8 pm.


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