TEXAS COUNCIL for
DEVELOPMENTAL
DISABILITIES

Voting Information

Resources for voters with disabilities and poll workers

Voting Information

Resources for voters with disabilities and poll workers

This page highlights important information and resources for voters with disabilities and poll workers. This information is not comprehensive but provides a starting point to ensure that all voters with disabilities can cast their ballots in elections.

I’m a Voter with a Disability

Voters with disabilities can receive assistance when registering to vote and when casting ballots. If you need assistance to vote at a polling location, here are some things to know.

Getting a ride to the polls

  • If you receive transportation to a polling location and you are in a group of seven or more people who are not members of your family, then the person providing transportation must fill out a form with the person’s name and address and indicate whether the person provided voting-related assistance to anyone they transported.
  • When you arrive at a polling location, tell a poll worker that you are a voter who needs help to vote. You do not have to provide proof of your disability.
        

Going by yourself

  • If you are unable to enter a polling location, then you can ask a poll worker to bring your ballot to the entrance of the polling location or to a vehicle parked at the curbside of the polling location. After you complete your ballot, the poll worker will collect it and put it in the ballot box for you. You can also ask to have another person of your choice bring you your ballot, collect it, and put it in the ballot box.
  • If you go by yourself to a polling location, you may want to call ahead so poll workers will be ready to assist you when you arrive.  
     

Who can help you

  • You can receive help to vote from: (A) any person you choose who is not a poll worker, (B) two poll workers on Election Day, or (C) one poll worker during early voting.
  • You cannot receive help from: (A) your employer, (B) an agent of your employer, or (C) an officer or agent of your union, if you are a member of one.
  • A person who helps you must fill out a form that states the person’s name, address, and relationship to you (for example, the person could be a friend or relative). The person must also sign an oath that you are eligible to receive assistance to vote.  
     

Casting your ballot

  • The person helping you must read the entire ballot to you unless you ask to have only parts of the ballot read to you.
  • The person helping you must take an oath that they will not try to influence your vote. If needed, the person can mark your ballot but must do so exactly as you direct them.
  • If you chose to get help from a poll worker, then poll watchers and election inspectors are allowed to watch you vote, and poll watchers can inspect your ballot to ensure it was marked as you directed. However, if you are helped by someone you chose who is not a poll worker, then no one else is allowed to watch you vote.
  • The person helping you vote cannot tell anyone how you voted.  

I’m a Poll Worker or Volunteer

If you are working at a polling location, you may have voters with disabilities who ask for help when casting their ballots. Here are some things to know.

Assisting voters with disabilities

  • Use respectful language: TCDD uses people-first language, which emphasizes the person over the disability (“person with a disability”). However, some voters will use other forms of language to describe themselves, including identity-first language, which emphasizes the disability over the person (“disabled person”). If you’re unsure, then ask the voter. Always use language that respects personal choice.
  • Speak directly: Address the voter rather than a companion or interpreter if one accompanies the voter into your polling location.
  • Respect adaptive devices: Treat adaptive devices — including wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, hearing aids, or assistive computer technology — as an extension of the voter. Ask for permission before providing assistance that involves a voter’s adaptive device. Never attempt to take control of a voter’s adaptive device.
  • Accommodate service animals: Voters with disabilities can have service animals in your polling location. Don’t distract service animals by petting, touching, or talking to them. Service animals are not required to wear ID badges or display signage.
  • Help without assumptions: Make assistance available to everyone but remember that a voter with a disability may not want or need your help. Voters with disabilities have a wide variety of capabilities, so avoid assumptions or generalizations about each voter’s level of functioning and support needs. When in doubt, ask.   
      

Making polling locations accessible

  • Signs: Make sure signs in your polling location are simple, clear, and easy to understand. Use signs to provide instruction and to identify accessible pathways in voting areas.
  • Easy access: Remove barriers, objects, or obstacles that could get in a voter’s way. Remember to make sure that cords, cables, and wires are secure and not blocking pathways.
  • Height clearance: Make sure sign-in tables and voting booths have adequate height clearance for voters using wheelchairs or other assistive devices. 
        

Understanding new voting laws

  • In-person: People providing assistance with in-person voting must provide their address and their relationship to the voter they are helping. They must also sign an oath that the voter they are assisting is eligible to receive assistance and that the person providing assistance is not being paid to do so.
  • Curbside: A person who transports a group of seven or more people who are not related to each other must complete and sign a form with the person’s name and address and indicate if the person is providing assistance properly and without being paid to do so.
  • Poll watchers: Watchers may observe assistance given to voters by poll workers and inspect the ballot before it is put in the ballot box to determine if the ballot was marked as the voter directed. A watcher may not be present at the voting station when a voter is marking a ballot or receiving help from a person of the voter’s choice, including from a person also serving as an interpreter at the voting station.