Voters with disabilities have the right to vote privately and independently or to get help casting their ballots. This includes:
- The right to an accessible polling place
- The right to an accessible voting machine (in Michigan these are called “Voter Assist Terminals” or “VATs”)
- The right to in-person assistance from any person that the voter chooses, except their employer, an agent of their employer, or an officer or agent of their union
For voters with disabilities, the ability to vote by absentee ballot is especially important. A few things to remember:
- A large print absentee ballot application is available on the Michigan Voter Information Center. (Remember – voters can apply NOW for their ballots for the May election.)
- For those with print disabilities, accessible electronic absentee ballots are also available. Voters can apply for an accessible electronic absentee ballot online at the Michigan Voter Information Center.
- If a voter receives assistance marking their ballot, the assisting person must sign where indicated on the absentee ballot return envelope.
- If a voter is unable to sign their absentee ballot return envelope, they may use their mark or signature stamp. An absentee ballot will not be counted unless the voter’s signature on the ballot envelope sufficiently agrees with the signature in the voter’s registration record. For registered voters who will use their mark or a signature stamp on their absentee ballot return envelope for the first time, we recommend submitting a new voter registration form with the mark or signature stamp.
If anyone has concerns about accessibility (for example, a clerk’s office that is not accessible or a VAT that is not working) they should call their city or township clerk right away and report the issue. If that doesn’t solve the problem, they should call the Nonpartisan Election Protection Hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE. Promote the Vote’s Michigan Rapid Response Team is monitoring the calls that come in through that hotline and will work to address any issues. More information and translated guides are available at MichiganVoting.org.