Disabled Person Voting

Disability Rights DC (DRDC) works to ensure that all DC residents with disabilities can vote independently and privately alongside residents without disabilities inside accessible polling places.  Under PAVA, DRDC:

  • Informs DC residents about their right to vote independently at their polling place on Election Day.
  • Reports inaccessible polling places to the DC Board of Elections (BOE) and recommends relocation.
  • Surveys polling places and voting equipment to make sure all voters can access the polls and vote, and publishes Voter Access Reports.
  • Partners with DC’s self-advocacy organization—Project Action!—to identify voting barriers.

OUR  PAVA WORK:

NBC TV News4 investigative team featured DRDC’s accessibility reports and recommendations calling on the BOE to comply with the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  DRDC’s Facebook post of the TV news reached over 1000 voters.  
We recruited volunteers from local law schools, legal services organizations, and the disability advocacy community to survey over 60% of polling sites during the June 14, 2016 Presidential Primary Election.  As a result of DRDC’s persistent advocacy, BOE relocated 18 polling precincts prior to the 2016 elections.
We successfully urged BOE to waive the written test for people with disabilities to serve as voter access guides, a paid poll worker position, on Election Day. 

Through DRDC’s advocacy, the Office of the DC Auditor audited DC’s polling sites, confirmed widespread inaccessibility, and recommended closure of schools on Election Day.
We successfully advocated to the DC Department of General Services to stop subjecting voters to ID checks and security screenings at government buildings.
The National Technical Assistance Center adopted DRDC’s polling accessibility checklist as a national model.  Download a copy of the checklist below.

RESOURCES:

Voter Access Report (Presidential Primary Election 2016) (upload)
DRDC’s Voting Rights Fact Sheet (upload)
DRDC’s Polling Accessibility Checklist (upload)
DRDC’s Testimony before DC Council (upload)
US Department of Justices’ ADA Checklist for Polling Places
DC Board of Elections Website: 2018 Elections

Statement of priorities, OBJECTIVES, and case selection criteria
PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY FOR VOTING ACCESS 2018

The MISSION of Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (DRDC) is to ensure that District of Columbia residents with disabilities have the legal rights to which they are entitled, including the right to be free from harm, the right to individual choice, and the right to full inclusion in the community.

The following are the priorities and objectives for the Protection and Advocacy Program for Voting Access (PAVA) for 2017:

  • Advocate on behalf of people with disabilities to ensure their full participation in all aspects of the electoral process including registering to vote, accessing polling places, and casting ballots in the District of Columbia.
    1. Report on the general accessibility issues regarding polling places and voting equipment for people with mobility, visual, and hearing disabilities during the November 8, 2016 Presidential Election.
    2. Pursue legal advocacy to ensure the Board of Election’s full compliance with the provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 by advocating with the Board of Elections, and other governmental agencies, to change or make accessible the inaccessible polling places.
    3. Provide advocacy and education through written materials and presentations to voters with disabilities in both institutional and community settings regarding voting rights.
    4. Develop and submit to administrative and policy-making bodies testimony and comments on proposed policies, procedures, and regulations that impact access to voting by people with disabilities in DC.

CASE SELECTION CRITERIA

DRDC accepts cases of those who have disabilities and who are residents of the District of Columbia and whose complaint falls within the aforementioned priorities.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

While we recognize that every situation is important, please note that case acceptance is dependent upon available resources, including staff time.  If your case is not accepted and you wish to file a grievance, please submit your grievance in writing to the Executive Director.  Current clients may also submit a grievance to the Executive Director about the quality of DRDC’s representation.  A client may lodge an oral grievance with a DRDC staff member who shall put the grievance in writing and submit it to the Executive Director.  The Executive Director may be reached at:

Jane Brown, Executive Director
University Legal Services
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-0198 Phone
(202) 547-2662 Fax
(202) 547-2657 TTY

The Executive Director shall respond in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of a grievance from any client or prospective client, or community member who has an interest in the operation of the protection and advocacy program.

A grievant may appeal the Executive Director’s decision to the Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director.  The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final and not subject to further appeal or review.  Client confidentiality shall be maintained. 

The Executive Director shall report grievances to the Board of Directors annually.


Learn more about Disability Rights DC


Connect with us on Facebook