Tuesday, April 4th is Election Day in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition urges voters with disabilities to cast a ballot and participate in our democracy.
The Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) Voter Hotline is available to answer your voting questions. Contact the Hotline at 844-347-8683 or email@example.com. See our website at disabilityvote.org for Rides to the Polls, a list of transportation providers around the state who may provide transportation for voting for people with disabilities and older adults.
On Election Day, staff from Disability Rights Wisconsin will conduct polling place accessibility reviews on behalf of the Wisconsin Election Commission.
Ballots must arrive by 8 PM on Election Day for them to count. If you have not yet mailed your ballot, check with your clerk about where your ballot may be returned. Depending on where you live, it may be possible to return your ballot to your clerk’s office, polling place or central count location. Unstaffed drop boxes are no longer allowed in Wisconsin.
If you need help returning your ballot because you have a disability, your rights are protected by the Federal Voting Rights Act. You must be permitted to receive assistance from a person of your choice, other than your employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of your union. This right was affirmed by an August 2022 federal court ruling. See guidance on ballot return assistance from the Wisconsin Election Commission and DRW.
Voting on Election Day
If you are voting on Election Day, make sure you are prepared:
- Check your polling place on MyVote Wisconsin as it may have changed.
- Check your registration status at MyVote Wisconsin. If you are not registered or your address has changed, you may register at your polling place. Bring a
Proof of Residence document with your name and current address.
- Bring your photo ID. The most common forms are a driver’s license or State ID for voting.
- Don’t have an ID? Vote a provisional ballot, then get an ID. Here’s a link to the process.
Know Your Rights
Voters with disabilities should know their rights. A voter with a disability cannot be turned away from the polls because a poll worker thinks they are not ‘qualified’ to vote. Disability or medical diagnosis does not take away the right to vote. Only the courts can take away that right.
To ensure that our voting process is accessible to all, disabled voters have the right to request accommodations. These are some of the most widely used accommodations:
- Curbside voting is required by state statute for any voter who cannot enter the polling place due to disability. Contact your clerk in advance to ask how to access curbside voting.
- If a voter needs help marking the ballot, they may have a person of their choice assist them. That person does not need to be qualified to vote. The voter may bring someone with them or request assistance from a poll worker. The assistor cannot be the voter’s employer or union representative.
- If a voter inside the polling location cannot sign the poll list due to a physical disability, they should inform a poll worker, who will write “Exempt by order of inspectors” on the poll list.
- All polling places must have accessible voting equipment set up and turned on. This equipment allows voters to independently and privately mark the ballot. It should be set up to allow voters who use a wheelchair to reach the controls and have an audio ballot-marking option for voters with a visual disability. Any voter may use
- Poll worker may ask voters to speak their name and address. If a voter is unable to state their name and address, Wisconsin law allows the voter to have a poll worker or an assistor of their choosing state their name and address on their behalf prior to receiving a ballot. Voters can also provide their information in writing to poll workers
- Other reasonable accommodations can be requested. Speak to the chief inspector at your polling place.
If a voter experiences an accessibility or voting rights concern, it is important to report it. Report concerns to the Chief Election Inspector at the polling place or to the Municipal Clerk. Concerns should also be reported to the WI Elections Commission website or call (608) 261-2028. The DRW Voter Hotline can assist voters who have a complaint.
Wisconsin Elections Commission Resources
- Guidance on Absentee Ballot Return Options Under the Federal Voting Rights Act
- Election Day Accessibility Checklist
- Accessible Voting Equipment webinar and resources on accessible voting
About the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition
The WDVC is a non-partisan effort to help ensure full participation of voters with disabilities in the entire electoral process including registering to vote, casting a vote, and accessing polling places. The Coalition is coordinated by Disability Rights Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and includes people with disabilities and over 40 community organizations. See disabilityvote.org for resources.