#AdvocacyMatters: Plan Your Vote

October 14, 2022 / #AdvocacyMatters

A truly equitable society cannot be achieved without the opportunity to vote being accessible to every individual. Assuring every disabled Ohioan the opportunity for their voice to be heard in the upcoming election is pivotal. Over the next several weeks leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 8th, we’ll be providing tools, resources, and information to help you Plan Your Vote.

The first step to vote this fall begins with verifying and updating your registration status. Make sure to confirm your status and, if you are going to vote in person on Election Day, identify your correct polling place. Updates to existing registrations, including name and address changes, can be completed after the voter registration deadline, though this may require the voter utilizing a provisional ballot. If you are already registered but don’t have a voting plan, visit our Plan Your Vote (https://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/voting ) website to get started.

Every Ohioan with a disability needs to have the opportunity to vote, and early voting makes this goal more accessible. There are two primary ways to vote before Election Day in Ohio, by mail with an absentee ballot or by voting early in-person at an early voting location. For early in-person voting, the available times and dates vary depending on the week, and the location varies by county . If you cannot make it to an official polling place, or if you just want to vote from the comfort of your own home, or for any reason at all, you can vote early with an absentee ballot. Requesting your absentee ballot can be done by application downloaded from the Ohio Secretary of State website, by requesting one to be mailed to you, or by requesting one in person at your county board of election office . There are also special absentee ballots for voters with disabilities (like those in nursing homes) who need elections officials to bring the ballot to them and help them complete it. And there are special absentee ballots for people who are unexpectedly hospitalized shortly before Election Day. And there is a remote absentee ballot marking tool for people who are blind or have vision impairments and use screen reader technology and want to vote privately and independently.

The Secretary of State issued a Directive (No. 2008-44) to verify that, as the Americans with Disabilities Act requires, every polling location is fully accessible to voters with disabilities: “People with disabilities must have the opportunity to vote privately and independently just as any other voter in the state of Ohio.” This means that there must be accessible voting machines and in a physical location that is free of accessibility barriers, especially for voters who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Voting curbside in-person, either on Election Day or while early voting, is an available option statewide. People with disabilities are guaranteed certain rights when voting in person on Election Day and you can view them here (https://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/blog/plan-your-vote-your-rights-at-the-polls ).

We recognize that each Election Day brings chances for disenfranchisement for Ohioans with disabilities. By planning your vote ahead of time, you give yourself the best chance for a smooth and simple experience in casting your ballot. As we do with every election, the DRO Voter Hotline will be open and accepting calls throughout Election Day at 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181 (toll-free). #AdvocacyMatters

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