Voting Rights Toolkit

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There are federal and state laws that protect the rights of voters with disabilities. This toolkit includes resources about voting rights for Wisconsinites with disabilities.

We hope these resources will help you to know your voting rights. Contact the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline or the Wisconsin Elections Commission with any questions or to report a complaint.

Know Your Voting Rights: Fact Sheet

As a person with a disability, it is your right to have a full and equal opportunity to register to vote, cast a ballot, and access disability related accommodations. Read the Disability Vote Coalition Voting Rights Fact Sheet to learn more about your voting rights.

Know Your Voting Rights: Video

Our video provides an overview of key voting rights. The video is a product of the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition, in partnership with the Wisconsin Election Commission.

State and Federal Laws that Protect Voting Rights

Federal law and Wisconsin law include many provisions that protect the voting rights of people with disabilities.

Accessible Voting Equipment

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that accessible voting equipment be available at every polling place so that all individuals have the opportunity to vote independently. The Wisconsin Election Commission website provides information about the accessible voting systems approved for use in Wisconsin.

Curbside Voting

Curbside voting is for people who are unable to enter the polling place due to disability, which includes being immunocompromised or having symptoms of COVID-19. The Wisconsin Election Commission website explains how to access curbside voting.

Guardianship and Voting

In Wisconsin, individuals who have a guardian retain the right to vote unless that right is expressly removed by the court. If an individual has lost the right to vote, they can ask to have the right restored by filing a petition in court and proving they are capable of understanding the purpose of an election. For more information, check out these resources from Disability Rights Wisconsin:

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters with a disability may request assistance with mailing or delivering their ballot from anyone who is not their employer or a representative of their labor union. This right is protected by the Federal Voting Rights Act and was affirmed by a federal court ruling in August of 2022 in the Carey v WEC case. If you are denied the right to assistance, contact the DRW Voter Hotline or the Wisconsin Elections Commission for assistance. Note: Wisconsin voters who do not have a disability cannot have assistance delivering their absentee ballot.

Voting Rights for Residents of Care Facilities

Residents of care facilities such as group homes and nursing homes have the same right to vote as any other citizens unless a court has removed that right. Facilities should ensure that residents can exercise their right to vote and can do so without interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal from the facility. In Wisconsin, Special Voting Deputies conduct absentee voting for voters who are occupants of residential care facilities and retirement homes that are required by law or designated by the municipal clerk to be served by Special Voting Deputies (SVDs).

How to Make a Complaint

If you are a voter with a disability who has a complaint regarding your voting experience, you should consider filing a complaint. Filing a complaint ensures that your concern is recorded and can resolved to make voting more accessible in the future. The Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline can assist you with the complaint process.

There are several options for making a complaint:

Complaints about Violations of Federal Laws

Anyone with a complaint about possible violations of the federal laws that protect voters with disabilities is encouraged to contact the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. The Civil Rights Division enforces a number of federal laws that protect voters with disabilities.

Help with Voting Questions

Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition Policy Recommendations

While federal and state law includes many provisions that address the accessibility of our elections, some voters with disabilities continue to experience barriers to registering to vote and casting a ballot. The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition supports the following recommendations to increase the accessibility of Wisconsin elections and provide equitable access for voters with disabilities.

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