Accessible Voting and Language Access FAQs
I have a disability. Can I still register to vote?
Yes. In order to register to vote, you must:
Be a United States Citizen
Be a resident of the District of Columbia
Be at least 16 years old (District residents may preregister to vote at age 16, but will not receive a voter registration card or be eligible to vote until they are at least 17 with a date of birth indicating that they will be 18 on or before the next general election)
Not have been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote
Not claim voting residence outside of the District of Columbia
You can learn more about registering to vote on our Register/Update Voter Registration page.
I have a cognitive disability. Are there any restrictions on my right to vote in the District of Columbia?
No. Assuming you meet all other requirements to vote, you are eligible to vote unless there is a current and valid court order that indicates that a court has found you legally incompetent to vote. It is not up to an Election Worker to determine your competence to vote. Even if you have a guardian, you will still be allowed to vote as long as you are eligible.
Do you have an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Coordinator on staff to assist and answer questions from voters with disabilities?
Yes. The ADA Coordinator facilitates requests for reasonable accommodations, responds to complaints, and ensures that all eligible voters have equal access to the voting process. Voters can reach the Contact the ADA Coordinator at [email protected] or call (202) 727-5411 / 711 (TTY) for assistance.
What programs and services does the Board provide to senior citizens, voters with disabilities, and limited or non-English proficient voters?
The Board provides numerous voting options for voters who may need some form of assistance, such as senior citizens, people with disabilities, and people who are Non-English Proficient (NEP) or Limited English Proficient (LEP). You can learn more about these programs and services on the Accessible Voting and Language Access page.
Do I have to vote in person?
No. If a voter does not wish to vote in person, they can use other options, such as Curbside Voting, using a Mail-in Ballot, or using an Accessible Remote Ballot. You can learn more about these services on the Accessible Voting and Language Access page.
Are Vote Center locations accessible? What if I need a reasonable accommodation?
The Board works collaboratively with government agencies and volunteers to ensure that Vote Center Locations are accessible. Should a voter find that any particular Vote Center location does not meet their specific needs, they are welcome to use any other Vote Center location in the District.
The Board can also provide reasonable accommodations (an adjustment made to the voting process to make it more accessible). Please contact the ADA Coordinator to request a reasonable accommodation at [email protected] or call (202) 727-5411 or via 711 (TTY).
Examples of reasonable accommodations that the Board can provide include:
Low-tech: Any accommodation that is technologically simple or unsophisticated, and readily available (e.g. printed material in large print, magnifying glass, or sound amplifier).
No-tech: An accommodation that does not require the use of any technology (e.g. American Sign Language Interpreter (ASL), extra time to vote, or seating).
Additionally, the Board provides other voting options for senior citizens and people with disabilities, including the ability to use Curbside Voting, a mail-in ballot, or the Accessible Remote Ballot (ARB) Marking System. More information about these voting options can be found on the Accessible Voting and Language Access page.
Will I be allowed to bring my service animal inside the Vote Center?
Yes. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In this case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Is there someone who can help me if I do not know what to do once I am at the Vote Center? Can my spouse/partner/child/friend/neighbor help me inside the voting booth?
Yes. Feel free to bring a relative, friend, or neighbor to assist you, as long as they are not your employer, an election observer, or union representative. Voter Assistance Clerks will also be on hand to assist voters at all Early Vote Center and Election Day Vote Center locations.
Are your voting machines accessible?
Yes. The Board uses ExpressVote ballot marking devices, which are designed to accommodate all voters, including those with cognitive, dexterity, auditory, and visual impairments.
ExpressVote ballot marking devices offer voters the ability to:
Use either a touchscreen or movable keypad.
Adjust the display contrast and text size.
Use a key pad printed with both text and Braille labels.
Use headphones to hear instructions and options for each contest, and make selections using the touchscreen, keypad, two-position switch, or sip/puff device.
Adjust the volume and tempo of the audio when using headphones.
See and/or hear all instructions and options in Spanish.
Can I change my vote choice(s) before I cast my vote?
Yes. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires any new voting equipment to allow voters the opportunity to change their choices privately and independently before their ballot is cast and counted.
What should I do if someone pressures me to vote for a particular candidate?
Please ask to speak with the Site Coordinator immediately, and report the individual. While you are able to receive assistance from an Election Worker or a person of your choosing, no person or official providing voter assistance should in any way influence or attempt to influence your choice in voting. Any person who violates this rule is subject to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment up to five years, or both, pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 1-1001.14(a).
May I move to the front of the line at a Vote Center if my disability requires it?
Possibly, depending on your specific disability. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), moving to the front of the line, when necessary, could be considered a reasonable accommodation. If your disability prevents you from staying in line, let an Election Worker know, or ask to be seated while you wait your turn. If you choose to stay in line, an Election Worker cannot make you move to the front of the line due to your disability.
Can I vote if I live in a nursing home, hospital, or other facility?
Yes. Residents of a nursing home, hospital, or other long-term care facility may vote in-person or via Absentee or mail-in ballot. Please contact your facility administrator or the Board if you have additional questions or concerns.
Is there a way for me to vote if I experience a health crisis shortly before an election?
Yes. If you are unable to vote in-person at an Early Voting Center or on Election Day, you may vote using a mail-in ballot (sent to all registered voters ahead of the election), or, if needed, you may also request an Emergency Absentee or mail-in ballot, which are available starting on the sixth day leading up to an election. For more information, please contact the Board at (202) 727-2525 or [email protected].
Can I be an Election Worker if I have a disability?
Yes. Having a disability is not grounds to bar an otherwise qualified person from serving as an Election Worker.
You can learn more about the requirements for serving as an Election Worker, and submit an application, by visiting the Apply to be an Election Worker page.