WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently published two new publications covering federal laws that protect the rights of voters with disabilities. The National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency that recommends disability policy to the President, Congress and other federal agencies applauded publication of the technical assistance document and welcomed the adoption of recommendations that NCD made in its own report on voting access, “The Experience of Voters with Disabilities in the 2012 Election Cycle,” published in October 2013.
The first report published by the DOJ “The Americans with Disabilities Act & Other Federal Laws Protecting the Rights of Voters with Disabilities” (posted 9/30/14), provides guidance about how the federal disability rights laws apply to the election process, from registration to voting and discusses the need for policies, procedures, and programs to be in place to ensure that voters with disabilities are not discriminated against or illegally excluded from voting.
“Solutions for Five Common ADA Access Problems at Polling Places,” the second guidance publication issued by the DOJ (posted 10/10/14), provides solutions for common physical access barriers found in many polling places.
Laws covered in the DOJ publications include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act. Both DOJ publications are available in HTML and PDF versions on ADA.gov.
“Voters with disabilities must be able to use their local polling place like everyone else and to vote privately and independently alongside their neighbors, friends and peers,” said NCD member Clyde Terry. “If properly utilized and followed, the DOJ’s guidance will go a long way in ensuring that the concerns raised by voters with disabilities in previous elections are being addressed. NCD applauds the DOJ for taking our recommendations seriously and commends the Justice Department’s efforts to extend not only the rights but also the means to vote to every American – including people with disabilities.”
NCD’s 2013 publication, Experience of Voters with Disabilities in the 2012 Election Cycle, which makes many of the recommendations furthered by the DOJ in their can be found online at: /publications/2013/10242013/