National Voting Resources
Voting is an issue that many different groups take seriously. Below is a collection of voting resources that should answer any questions you may have about the voting process.
- Your Vote Counts: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Voting in the U.S. (Easy Read)
- Your Vote Counts: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Voting in the U.S. (Plain Language)
- Your Vote Counts: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Voting in the U.S. (Homepage)
- Know You Right to Vote Resource Page (The Arc)
- 2020 Disability Voter Guide (RespectAbility)
- US Election Assistance Commission
- #CriptheVote: 2020 Presidential Candidates
- Department of Justice and Disability Voting Rights Technical Assistance
- Checklist for polling places (ADA)
- National Disabilities Rights Network’s Voting Handbook
- Vote 411
- National Voter Registration Day
- Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) Voter Guide
- Bazelon Center Guide to Voting Rights of People with Mental Disabilities
- National Youth Leadership Network: The Power of Voting
- Nonprofit Vote: Voting with a Disability
- Research Alliance for Accessible Voting: Guidelines for Assisting Voters with Disabilities
- National Council on Disability (2013)
- Leadership Conference Voting Information
- Episode 77: Making Our Elections Accessible: Equal Access for Voters with Disabilities
- The Census in American Sign Language: Rooted in Rights
- #DisabilityCounts (English, Spanish, ASL): Rooted in Rights
- John Lewis: Voting Matters
- Presidential Debates Often Fail Deaf Voters. SignVote Hopes to Change That
ID Action (Iowa DD Council)
Toolkit (Instant download)
Voting and Election Guide (Immediate download)
Disability Laws of ND (ELECTIONS begin page 32)
Toolkit (Instant download)
Registration (South Carolina DD Council)
Ways to Vote (South Carolina DD Council)
Accessibility Issues (South Carolina DD Council)
Absentee ballot: A ballot filed by a voter who cannot be present at their polling place on Election Day.
Absentee voting: Voting that can occur unsupervised at a location chosen by the voter either before or on day.
Access: Measurable characteristics that indicate the degree to which a system is available to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The most common disabilities include those associated with vision, hearing and mobility, as well as cognitive disabilities.
Accessibility: Measurable characteristics that indicate the degree to which a system is available to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The most common disabilities include those associated with vision, hearing, mobility, and cognition.
Accessible facility: Voting station equipped for individuals with disabilities.
Accessibility requirements: Accommodations that a faculty must have to accommodate voters with disabilities
Activation device: Programmed device that creates credentials necessary to begin a voting session using a specific ballot style. Examples include electronic poll books and card activators that contain credential information necessary to determine the appropriate ballot style for the voter.
Alternative format: The ballot or accompanying information is said to be in an alternative format if it is presented in non-standard ballot language and format. Examples include, but are not limited to, languages other than English, Braille, ASCII text, large print, recorded audio.
Assistive technology: A device that improves or maintains the capabilities of people with disabilities (such as no vision, low vision, mobility, or cognitive). These devices include headsets, keypads, software, sip-and-puff, and voice synthesizers.
Audio format: A ballot display format in which contest options and other information are communicated through sound and speech.
Ballot: A list of candidates and proposed laws that voters mark to make choices. A ballot may be made of paper and marked with a pen or hole punch. Or it may be electronic and voters mark their choices with the push of a button or by touch screen.
Ballot display format: The concrete presentation of the contents of a ballot appropriate to the particular voting technology being used. The contents may be rendered using various methods of presentation (visual or audio), language, or graphics.
Ballot Initiative: A proposed law drafted by citizens and placed on the ballot. Citizens will vote to approve or reject it. Ballot initiatives are usually drafted by groups who are passionate about an issue.
Ballot instructions: Information provided to the voter that describes the procedure for marking the ballot. This information may appear directly on the paper or electronic ballot or may be provided separately.
Braille voting instructions: An instruction sheet that is both in English/Spanish and Braille.
Caucus: A meeting held by members of a party to decide an issue. Most often, caucuses are statewide meetings held in presidential election years. Members of a party choose a candidate to support or they elect members to a state nominating committee.
Certificate of permanent disability: A form that confirm one’s disability.
Declaration of assistance to vote: A form that declares your need of assistance to give to your polling place.
Disability: Being regarded as having such an impairment (definition from the Americans with Disabilities Act).
Early voting: Voting that occurs prior to election day under the supervision of election workers.
early voting center. Physical location where individuals may cast a ballot before election day under the supervision of election workers.
Election day: The last day on which voters may cast a ballot. Absentee ballots and early voting ballots may be cast in advance of election day.
Election district: Administrative area in which voters are entitled to vote in contests that are specific to that area.
Election jurisdiction: A geographical area to which a practical authority has been granted to administer elections for political or administrative offices. Areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. States, counties, cities, towns, and townships are all examples of jurisdictions.
Election Official (also Poll Worker, Election Clerk, Election Judge): A person appointed to:
- Monitor the voting process at a polling place.
- Make sure voters follow state requirements.
- Certify an election was conducted legally.
- Give the official vote count.
Election worker: Any person who interacts with those coming to vote. This includes any poll worker, election day worker, early voting worker, or other temporary staff engaged in supporting the voting or vote counting process.
Enhanced visual format: An alternative visual display format supporting personal choices such as text size, color contrast, and preferred language.
General Election: A final election for a political office with a limited list of candidates. The candidates in the general election are the people who won their party’s primary election. General elections happen at a local, state, and national level.
Extraneous mark: A mark on a paper ballot that appears to be unrelated to the act of indicating a voter’s selection. Examples include: a mark made unintentionally by a voter that is obviously not related to making a selection; a hesitation mark, a dot within or outside of the target area made by resting a pen or pencil on the ballot; written notes or identifying information not related to indication of the voter’s selection; or printing defects.
General election: Election in which all eligible voters, regardless of party affiliation, are permitted to select candidates to fill public office and/or vote on ballot measures.
Interpreter: Somebody to sign instructions for people with healing disabilities
in-person voting: Voting that occurs in an official location under the supervision of election workers.
Midterm Election: The federal election for members of Congress held between presidential elections.
Military voter: A member of a uniformed service in active service, including army, navy, air force, marine corps, coast guard and merchant marine, and their spouses and dependents.
Open primary: Partisan primary election in which the voter may choose a political party at the time of voting and vote in party-specific contests associated with that party, along with non-party-specific contests presented at the same election. Some states require voters to publicly declare their choice of party at the polling place, after which the election worker provides or activates the appropriate ballot. Other states allow the voters to make their choice of party within the privacy of the voting booth.
Polling place: Location at which voters may cast in-person ballots under the supervision of election workers during one or more specific time periods.
Political Action Committee (PAC): A group organized to raise money or support for a politician or cause.
Political Party: A group whose intent is to govern and legislate in a specific way based on a chosen set of principles or platform.
Polling Station: The location in which you cast your vote. Your area may hold voting in schools, churches, community centers, or other central public places. Your polling place is assigned based on your legal address.
Precinct (Election District, Voting District): Each city, county, or geographic area is divided by address into precincts to assign polling places and gather votes. A precinct can sometimes be called an election district or voting district.
Primary Election (Open and Closed): An election held to choose which of a party’s candidates will be nominated for the general election. In an open primary, all voters can vote for any candidate they prefer, regardless of the voter’s or candidate’s party affiliation. In a closed primary, voters can only vote for a candidate from the party that the voter belongs to.
Registered voter: Someone who is qualified and has applied and been added to their area’s voter registration system.
Sample ballot: An example of what the official ballot will look like. These can be used to help people make decisions, and are often published by newspapers or websites.
Special needs voting: The special needs voting provisions make voting accessible to disabled voters.
Super Tuesday: The day when the most states and territories hold presidential primary elections or caucuses. The candidates who win on Super Tuesday are more likely to win their party’s nomination.
Touch screen voting machine: A vote-capture device that utilizes a computer screen to display the ballot and allows the voter to indicate their selections by touching designated locations on the screen.
Town Hall Meeting or Debate: A setting in which candidates for office answer questions from voters. In a town hall-style debate, a moderator helps ensure candidates follow the rules they agreed to.
Usability: The usability of the setup and operation of voting equipment in the polling place.
Vote-by-mail: Method of voting by which eligible voters are mailed ballots and information packets by the local election jurisdiction. Voters may be able to return their marked ballots by mail, bring them to an election office, or drop them off in secure drop boxes.
Voting Guide / Voter’s Guide: Information about candidates and issues in an upcoming election. Guides can be published by political parties, organizations, or other groups. They may be non-partisan or may favor a particular party or viewpoint.
Voting station: The location within a polling place where voters may record their votes. A voting station includes the area, location, booth, or enclosure where voting takes place.