LANSING, MI – According to federal law, voters with disabilities have the right to cast a secret ballot at a polling place that is equal, accessible, and barrier-free.
If voters experience accessibility problems such as: missing ramps or curb cuts, inadequate reserved parking, inaccessible doorways, insufficient signage, harassment or discrimination by a poll worker or other barriers, they should call Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service at 800-288-5923.
All precincts must also have a functioning AutoMARK ballot marking machine and poll workers who are knowledgeable in its operation.
“Voting is a constitutional right”, says Elmer Cerano, executive director of MPAS. “Federal law requires that all persons with disabilities be allowed full participation in the electoral process. This includes registering to vote, casting a secret ballot, and having full access to polling places. If the law is being violated, we want to know about it so we can take whatever action is necessary to assure compliance.”
Voters may call and report inaccessible polling places, problems voting and questions regarding voting prior to and after November 4, as well as up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. They are also encouraged to take an accessibility survey to the polling place. Precincts that are found out of compliance will be investigated. Download the survey at www.mpas.org or call 800-288-5923.
Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service (MPAS) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the governor of Michigan to advocate for and protect the rights of people with disabilities in Michigan. MPAS services include information and referral, short-term assistance, selected individual and legal representation, systemic advocacy, monitoring, and training.