VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES
Polling places should support voters, not hinder them. When you go to the polls in Texas, you can expect:
- Each polling place will offer at least one type of accessible voting equipment. This equipment provides assistance to the voter for marking the paper ballot. Voters with disabilities may use headphones or other assistive devices to help them vote independently and secretly
Tell the election official if you are a voter who needs help to vote. You do not have to provide proof of your disability. Voters are entitled to receive assistance if they:
- Cannot read or write; or,
- Have a physical disability that prevents them from reading or marking the ballot; or,
- Cannot speak English, or communicate only with sign language, and want assistance in communicating with election officials
Voters may be assisted by:
- Any person the voter chooses who is not an election worker;
- Two election workers on Election Day; or
- One election worker during early voting
Voters MAY NOT be assisted by:
- Their employer;
- An agent of their employer; or
- An officer or agent of their union
The person assisting the voter must read him or her the entire ballot, unless the voter asks to have only parts of the ballot read. The person assisting the voter must take an oath that he or she will not try to influence the voter’s vote and will mark the ballot as the voter directs. If the voter chooses to be assisted by polling place officials, poll watchers and election inspectors may observe the voting process, but if the voter asks to be assisted by a person the voter chooses, no one else may watch him or her vote.
It is illegal for a person assisting the voter to:
- Try to influence the voter’s vote;
- Mark the voter’s ballot in a way other than the way they have asked; or
- Tell anyone how the voter voted
Voters who cannot speak English, or who communicate only with sign language, may use an interpreter to help them communicate with election officials, regardless of whether the election official(s) attending to the voter can speak the same language as the voter. The voter may select any person other than the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs. If the voter cannot read the languages on the ballot, the interpreter may also assist by translating the language on the ballot for the voter in the voting booth. (See assistance section above for more details.) If the voter is deaf and does not have a sign language interpreter who can accompany them to help communicate with the poll worker or read the ballot, the voter should contact his or her local election officials before the election and request assistance. NOTE: This is a change in prior law, due to Court Orders issued on August 12 and 30, 2016.
If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place, he or she may ask that an election officer bring a ballot to the entrance of the polling place or to a car at parked at the curbside. After the voter marks the ballot, they will give it to the election officer, who will put it in the ballot box. Or, at the voter’s request, a companion may hand the voter a ballot and deposit it for him or her.
If you plan to go alone to vote curbside, it is wise to call ahead so election officials will expect you. Generally speaking, you may vote curbside during the early voting period (the 17th day before Election Day until the 4th day before Election Day) or on Election Day. For a May uniform election date or resulting runoff election, the early voting period is the 12th day before Election Day until the 4th day before Election Day.
Notice of Voting Order Priority click here.
Voters who vote during the early voting period may vote at any early voting site in the political subdivision that is holding the election. Alternatively, if a voter will be 65 years of age or older on Election Day, has a disability, or will be outside the county during early voting hours and on Election Day, the voter can apply to vote by mail. Simply submit a completed and signed Application for a Ballot by Mail any time from the 60th to the 11th day before Election Day to the proper county early voting clerk. Applications for a Ballot by Mail may also be submitted in person at the main early voting polling location. For further information on voting early in person or by mail, including information on assistance in requesting, marking, or mailing a ballot by mail, please click: Get your application here.
Please note: this information is also available in Spanish, large print, audiotape, or computer disc upon request to the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683)
(Esta información está disponible en Español, tipo de imprenta más grande, cinta magnética para audio, o disco para computadora. Para conseguir una de estas versiones por favor llame sin cargo a la oficina del Secretario de Estado al 1.800.252.VOTE (8683)).