Forth Worth, Dallas, Denton & Plano Resource Centers on Independent Living

Plan Your Vote 2020

Prepared by the National Coalition for Accessible Voting

Do you have a plan to vote this year? This voting plan will walk you through the steps you need to take to get ready and go vote! Each step has questions to guide you in creating your voting plan. You can answer each question in the “my answer” space.

Step 1: Register to Vote (5 Steps) Deadline Monday October 5, 2020.

Step 2: Learn About Your Ballot (2 Steps) 3

Step 3: Choose How to Vote (3 Options) 3

Option 1: Voting by Mail or by Absentee Ballot 3

Option 2: Voting in Person Early  4

Option 3: Voting in Person on Election Day  4

Step 4: Vote! 5

Option 1: Voting by Mail or Absentee Ballot (4 Steps) 5

Step One: Request your Absentee Ballot 5

Step Two: Fill out your ballot 6

Step Three: Return your ballot 6

Step Four: Track Your Ballot 7

Option 2: Voting in Person Early (3 Steps) 7

Step One: Decide when you are going to vote. 7

Step Two: Find your polling place. 7

Step Three: Go vote! 8

Option 3: Voting in Person on Election Day  8

Step One: Find your polling place. 8

Step Two: Go vote! 8

Help with Problems Casting Your Ballot 9

If voting is inaccessible to you… 9

If you have voting questions… 9

Step 1: Register to Vote (5 Steps)

  1. Am I registered to vote? Is my registration up to date? See if you have registered to vote at vote.org. Even if you know you are registered, make sure that your registration has all the correct information. Check that your home address and the spelling of your name are correct.
    1. My answer:
  2. How can I register to vote? In every state, you can register to vote by mailing a paper application. In many states, you can register online or in person. Contact your local elections office to find out how you can register in your state.
    1. My answer:
  3. When do I need to register by? Every state has a different deadline for registering to vote. Find out when you need to register by with this spreadsheet of voter registration deadlines by state (PDF).
    1. My answer:
  4. Do I need an ID? You will likely need some form of identification (ID) to register, and sometimes you need ID to vote. Find out what ID you need to register or to vote at voteriders.org or USA.gov.
    1. My answer:
  5. Can I vote if I have a guardian? It depends on the state. Learn about your state’s rules in this spreadsheet on guardianship laws and voting (PDF). Autistic Self-Advocacy Network also has Voting Rights Guides in Easy Read and Plain Language Editions.
    1. My answer:

Step 2: Learn About Your Ballot (2 Steps)

  1. What will be on my ballot? A sample ballot tells you what candidates and policy changes you can vote for on your ballot. Enter the address you are voting from at ballotpedia.com to find your sample ballot.
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  2. Where can I learn about candidates and issues? Sites like Ballotpedia and Ballotready can help you research your candidates.
    1. My answer:

Step 3: Choose How to Vote (3 Options)

Option 1: Voting by Mail or by Absentee Ballot

Voting by mail or by absentee ballot means that the election office mails a paper ballot to your home. In some states, every voter receives a ballot this way, and this is called voting by mail. For other states, you need to have a reason why you are voting at home and not in the polling place. These reasons could be that you have a disability, or you will be out of town on election day. This is usually called absentee voting.

If you want to vote by mail or absentee, you will probably have to submit a form asking your election office to send you a ballot. Some states offer electronic ballot delivery for people with disabilities. In this case, you will receive your ballot over the computer or smartphone. You may also be able to return your ballot electronically.

  1. What you need to think about if you want to vote by mail or by absentee ballot:
    1. What is the deadline for requesting my absentee or mail-in ballot?
    2. Can you mark your ballot by yourself with a pen, or will you need someone to help you? This includes both marking and signing the ballot, as some states may require you to sign your ballot.
    3. Will you mail your ballot in the mail, or will you take it to a ballot dropbox in your community?

Option 2: Voting in Person Early

Although the 2020 Election Day is on November 3rd, many states allow voters to vote before Election Day during a time called Early Voting. Some states have a period like Early Voting, but it is called in-person absentee voting. In some states, you may be required to provide a reason, like having a disability, to vote during this time. Early Voting or in-person absentee voting periods last between four days to 45 days long. Voting in person early is just like voting in person on Election Day, just on a different day.

If you need to use an accessible machine like a ballot-marking device, you can do that during Early Voting. Depending on your state, you may also be able to do curbside voting. Curbside voting is when a poll worker comes out of the polling place and helps you vote from your car. This is an important option if the polling place isn’t accessible.

  1. What you need to think about if you want to vote in person:
    1. When does early voting start and end?
    2. Where is your polling place, and how will you get there?
    3. Are you comfortable with voting in person?

Option 3: Voting in Person on Election Day

 

Voting in person on Election Day means that you will go to your polling place on November 3rd to vote.

If you need to use an accessible machine like a ballot-marking device, you can do that on Election Day. Depending on your state, you may also be able to do curbside voting. Curbside voting is when a poll worker comes out of the polling place and helps you vote from your car. This is an important option if the polling place isn’t accessible.

  1. What you need to think about if you want to vote in person:
    1. Where is your polling place, and how will you get there?
    2. Are you comfortable with voting in person?

Step 4: Vote!

Option 1: Voting by Mail or Absentee Ballot (4 Steps)

Note: your local or state election office will have the most up-to-date information on voting options in your state. You can find your local or state election office through several websites, including the U.S. Vote Foundation and USA.gov.

Step One: Request your Absentee Ballot

  1. How can I request my absentee or mail-in ballot? You can request your ballot through vote.org or directly from your local elections office. You can also find state-specific information on how to request a mail-in ballot through the ACLU.
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  2. Do I need a “reason” to request an absentee ballot such as having a disability? If you have a disability, you are eligible to vote absentee by mail in every state. Many states do not require any reason to vote by mail. For more info, check out this list of states and their mail-in ballot rules.
    1. My answer:
  3. Do I need to request an absentee or mail-in ballot? Some states automatically send registered voters a ballot, but in most states you need to request an absentee or mail-in ballot. Find out if you need to request a ballot by contacting your local elections office.
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  4. What is the deadline to request your absentee ballot? States’ deadlines to request an absentee or mail-in ballot range from October 13 to November 2. Request your ballot as soon as possible to make sure that you have enough time to submit your request, receive your ballot in the mail (or electronically if eligible), and then return your ballot in time.
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Step Two: Fill out your ballot

  1. Do I need someone to help me with filling out my ballot?
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  2. Do I need someone to witness my ballot? Ask your local election office if you need someone to witness your ballot.
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  3. Do I need to sign my ballot? Most states require that voters sign the return envelope for their ballots. States may check the signature against a signature they have on file to verify the ballot. This may create a barrier for people with progressive disabilities whose signatures have changed over time. The spelling of the name that you sign must match the spelling of the name on your registration. Learn more about ballot verification.
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  4. Can I get my ballot electronically so I can complete it on a computer or smartphone? Ask your local election office if this option is available to you.
    1. My answer:

Step Three: Return your ballot

Make sure to return your ballot as soon as you can!

How will I return my ballot? (3 options)

  1. I will mail my ballot in the mail.
  2. I will use a ballot dropbox. Find ballot dropboxes through your state or local election office. Find your state or local election office website.
  3. Deliver my ballot in person:  You may be allowed to take your ballot to the election office. Ask your local election office if you are allowed to do this.
  4. I will return my ballot with electronic ballot delivery (if available).
    1. My answer:

Step Four: Track Your Ballot

  1. Does my state have ballot tracking? Find out through your state or local election office. Find your state or local election office website.
    1. My answer:

Option 2: Voting in Person Early (3 Steps)

Step One: Decide when you are going to vote.

  1. Can I vote early in my state?
    1. My answer:
  2. If my state has early voting, when does it start and end?
    1. My answer:
  1. What day will I go vote?
    1. My answer:

Step Two: Find your polling place.

  1. Where is my polling place?
    1. My answer:
  2. What time does my polling place open and close?
    1. My answer:
  3. How will I get to my polling place?
    1. My answer:

Step Three: Go vote!

Questions:

  1. Do I need to bring voter ID? If so, what voter ID will I bring with me? Voter ID Laws in Your State
    1. My answer:
  2. Do I need curbside voting? Your local election office will have information on how to request curbside voting. Find your state or local election office website.
    1. My answer:

Option 3: Voting in Person on Election Day

Step One: Find your polling place.

  1. Where is my polling place?
    1. My answer:
  2. What time does my polling place open and close?
    1. My answer:
  3. How will I get to my polling place?
    1. My answer:

Step Two: Go vote!

Questions:

  1. Do I need to bring voter ID? If so, what voter ID will I bring with me? Voter ID Laws in Your State
    1. My answer:
  2. Do I need curbside voting? Your local election office will have information on how to request curbside voting. Find your state or local election office website.
    1. My answer:

Help with Problems Casting Your Ballot

If voting is inaccessible to you…

Texas Secretary of State Elections Complaints – https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/contact.shtml

Disability Rights Texas https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/category/voting/

 

If you have voting questions…