Common Questions: Voting if you unexpectedly can't get to the polls

November 2, 2018 by Stacy Brannan-Smith / voting

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Editor's note - this has been updated to reflect 2019 dates, but the voting rights information remains unchanged

Tuesday, November 5th is Election Day, and our Voter Hotline will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. - the same hours as the polls - at 800-282-9181. We will be available to answer your questions about voting and may be able to help if your voting rights are being violated.

In this blog post, we'll answer some more common questions we hear about voting, this time about situations that might keep you from being able to get to the polls to vote on Tuesday. These issues have been a DRO priority for the last several years, both in our advocacy and legal action, and we take them very seriously. 

What if my disability keeps me from going to the polls?

If you are not able to travel from your home, nursing facility, hospital or other residential facility to your voting location on Election Day because of an illness or disability, you may request help with your ballot from your county board of elections. This special absentee ballot application must be delivered to your county board of elections before NOON, THE SATURDAY BEFORE THE ELECTION. You can ask your social worker, case manager, patient advocate, friend or family member to submit it for you. This is also the form to use if you are incarcerated for a misdemeanor or are awaiting trial on a felony or misdemeanor charge.

On this application, you must describe the nature of your illness or disability and your inability to travel to the polls on Election Day. Two officials from the county board of elections, one Democrat and one Republican, will bring you a ballot, provide any help you need to complete it, and return it to the board of elections for you.

What if I am (or my minor child is) unexpectedly hospitalized on or near Election Day?

If you or your minor child are unexpectedly hospitalized after noon the Saturday, before the Election, you still have a right to vote, even if the hospital is in a different county from where you are registered to vote. Depending on your situation, you will have to use this form or this form and get it submitted to your county board of elections by 3 P.M. ON ELECTION DAY. There may be situations, too, where a hospitalization before that Saturday at noon would also allow you to use these forms. It can be very hard to tell which form to use and how to navigate this situation, so call us at 800-282-9181 immediately and we will guide you through the process.

Call us if you need help

We are dedicated to making sure that people with disabilities are able to cast their vote. If you have questions or think your voting rights are being violated, contact us.

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