Friday, October 24, 2008

Election 2008: Your Voting Rights!

We encourage you to use Early/One Stop Voting sites that are now open around the state to cast your vote! We also encourage you to know your rights as a voter! If you are a person with a disability voting in this election there are two laws that protect your rights, one is the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines the other is the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)

The North Carolina Board of Elections site states the following on Voter Accessibility for people with disabilities:

Voting Accessibility
North Carolina boards of elections are committed to ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Most polling places in the State are accessible to all voters.

Unfortunately, some localities do not have the available structures or adequate funding to alter them. Contact your county board of elections to learn more about your particular voting facility. Note the “reassignment of polling place” provision should your polling place not be accessible in the near future.

Adaptive technology and ballots in accessible media are available upon request. Contact your County Board office and make them aware of your voting needs.

When a voter with a disability appears to vote at his or her precinct on election day, he or she may take advantage of the provisions in G.S. 163-155 and G.S. 163-152(a).


If a disabled voter does not wish to vote curbside, and the polling place is not sufficiently equipped to allow comfortable or adequate entrance to the building, there is another option in G.S. 163-130:
"G.S. 163-130. Satellite voting places. A county board of elections may, upon approval of a request submitted in writing to the State Board of Elections, establish a plan whereby elderly or disabled voters in a precinct may vote at designated sites within the precinct other than the regular voting place for that precinct. The State Board of Elections shall approve a county board's proposed plan if:

All the satellite voting places to be used are listed in the county's written request
The plan will in the State Board's judgment overcome a barrier to voting by the elderly or disabled persons;
Adequate security against fraud is provided for; and
The plan does not unfairly favor or disfavor voters with regard to race or party affiliation.


"G.S. 163-166.9. Aged and disabled persons allowed to vote outside voting enclosure. In any primary or election any qualified voter who is able to travel to the voting place, but because of age, or physical disability and physical barriers encountered at the voting place is unable to enter the voting place or enclosure to vote in person without physical assistance, shall be allowed to vote either in the vehicle conveying such person to the voting place or in the immediate proximity of the voting place. . ."


"G.S. 163-166.8. Assistance to voters in primaries and general elections. In a primary or general election, a registered voter qualified to vote in the primary or general election shall be entitled to assistance in getting to and from the voting booth and in preparing his ballots in accordance with the following rules:

Any voter shall be entitled to assistance from a near relative of his [her] choice.

Any voter in any of the following four categories shall be entitled to assistance from a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union:

1. One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance;

2. One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark his ballots without assistance;

3. One who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark his ballots without assistance;

4. One who, on account of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark his ballots without assistance."


In 1999, disability advocacy leaders, along with local election officials developed the North Carolina Task Force on Elections Access. The Task Force's primary goal is to seek solutions to the issues faced by both voters with disabilities and election officials. The elections community is committed to issues involved in all voters exercising their right to vote and in doing so with dignity and pride.

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