The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition is working to ensure a strong turnout of voters with
disabilities at the polls, and to address barriers that voters with disabilities may encounter when exercising this important civil right. People with disabilities accounted for over 35 million eligible voters in 2016, according to Rutgers University. That figure jumps to over 62 million eligible voters when you count family members in the same household – over 25% of eligible voters.
Although the impact of the disability vote is significant, voter participation among people with disabilities decreased in recent presidential elections — from 57.3 percent in 2008 to 56.8 percent in 2012 and 55.9 percent in 2016. An October 2017 study by the US Government Accountability Office found nearly two-thirds of the polling places inspected on Election Day 2016 had at least one impediment to people with disabilities. Other factors include a lack of training for poll workers, limited access to registration materials, and requirements for photo ID.
To ensure that Wisconsinites with disabilities can fully participate in the electoral process, the law provides these protections:
• By law, an accessible voting machine must be available in every polling place. This machine will allow voters to independently mark the ballot.
• If a voter needs help marking the ballot, he or she may have a person assist them. A voter may not receive assistance from an employer or a representative of that voter’s labor
• If a voter inside the polling location cannot sign the poll list due to a physical disability, they should inform a poll worker.
• Curbside voting should be available if a voter cannot enter the polling place due to a disability on Election Day. Contact the municipal clerk for information.
• Other reasonable accommodations can be requested. Speak to the chief inspector at the
polling place or the municipal clerk.
• Homeless voters are eligible to vote in Wisconsin. When registering, they may use a letter
from a social service agency as proof of residence. They will need to show a photo ID.
• Our Frequently Asked Questions for the April 2nd Election and other resources are available at www.disabilityvote.org/
• For disability related questions about voting, or help addressing a concern or filing a complaint, contact the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline at 1-844-DIS-VOTE / 844-347-8683.
• The Wisconsin Election Commission toll free help line is available to answer all voting related questions at 1-866-VOTE-WIS.
The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition is a project of
Disability Rights Wisconsin and the
Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.