#AutismVotes: Vote on Tuesday, November 3rd (or earlier, if you have the option!)

September 25, 2020

The 2020 general election will be held on Tuesday, November 3rd.

In addition to being a presidential election year, there are many federal, state and local races. These include, but are not limited to:

Voting is a fundamental right and responsibility in our democracy.

Voting is a way to express views and help ensure that government develops and implements good policies. It is vital that people with autism and their loved ones vote in the upcoming general election.

Important federal civil rights laws have been enacted to combat voting discrimination and protect every American’s right to vote. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Voting Rights Act of 1965, Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984, Help America Vote Act along with other laws protect people with disabilities’ right to vote.

You have a right to vote if you are

  • 18 years old or older
  • A United States citizen
  • Not in jail or on parole or probation for an indictable offense

Voting laws can be different in each state. For example, your eligibility to vote if you have a guardian depends on where you live.

Check your state-specific eligibility and identification requirements.

 

Preparing to Vote

  1. Register to Vote. - Deadlines to register to vote vary by state. Check your registration status and your state's registration deadline.

  2. Decide how you are voting. - Based on the options available in your state, this may include absentee or regular vote-by-mail, in-person during early voting OR in-person on election day. 

  3. Study Up! - Think about what issues matter most to you and then do your part to be an informed voter by learning about the candidates and ballot measures. BallotReady.org offers voter guides by home address nationwide. It even lets you save your choices online and print/email your personalized ballot to bring with you to the polls. 

 

How to Vote...

At your Polling Place

Everyone has an assigned place to vote called a polling place. To vote in person, you must vote at your assigned polling place which may be at a library, school, fire station, church, local store or private building.

States have different voter ID requirements so check what type of identification document is needed to vote in-person in your state.

Some states allow early voting at polling sites in the days or weeks leading up to election day. See if and when early voting takes place in your state.

Plan to comply with any state or local COVID-related regulations, such as social distancing and mask-wearing. If sensory or other challenges make this difficult or impossible, reach out ahead of time to local election officials to get advice or obtain any possible exemption from those COVID-related requirements.

By Mail

Given this year's health and safety concerns, voting by mail is a popular option. Some states have even changed their voting rules to make it easier for eligible people to vote by mail.

*Be sure to mail your ballot with as much time as possible to reach election officials since many people have experienced recent postal service delays.

Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii already conduct their elections through a mail-in process. Registered voters in these states automatically receive a mail ballot at their address before Election Day.

In all other states without regular vote-by-mail options, you should decide now if you plan to absentee vote by mail and if so, request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Check your state’s election site to determine if you qualify to vote by mail/absentee and request your absentee ballot.

 

Voting & Accessibility

The ADA requires that public entities ensure people with disabilities can access and use their voting facilities. This includes features such as:

  • Wheelchair-accessible voting booths
  • Entrances and doorways at least 32 inches wide
  • Handrails on all stairs
  • Voting equipment for people who are blind or visually impaired
  • Allowing service animals to accompany the individual into the polling place

People with disabilities have a right to reasonable accommodations that make it possible for them to vote. Examples of additional accommodations include chairs to sit in if waiting in line to vote is difficult or assisted listening equipment.

If you need help voting, you may also seek help from poll workers or bring someone to help you vote.

You can ask up to two people to help you vote, including family, friends, poll workers or someone else of your choosing. Election staff and volunteers receive training so they can appropriately assist in the voting process.

If you need help using the voting machine, you can also vote orally. Voting orally is when you tell your choice to an assistant who will input your answers into the voting machine.

Contact your election office for additional information.

To report complaints of possible violations of the federal voting rights laws, visit www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/misc/contact.php

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.