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.


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.


DRDC DC Voting Access Report November 3, 2020 General Election
DC Voting Access Report June 2, 2020 Primary Election
Incarcerated DC Residents Know Your Rights - How to Vote in the General Election 2020
DRDC's 2020 General Election How to Vote Fact Sheet
DRDC's 2020 General Election How to Vote Fact Sheet for CRF Residents
DRDC’s 2020 Primary Election How to Vote Fact Sheet - English | Spanish
DC's Voting Access Report (June 2018 Primary Election)
DC's Voting Access Report (Presidential Primary Election 2016)
DRDC’s Voting Rights Fact Sheet
DRDC’s Polling Accessibility Checklist
DRDC’s Testimony before DC Council
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 2022

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 2022:

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.

 a. Organize volunteers to survey the accessibility of polling places during the June 21, 2022 and November 8, 2022 Primary and General Elections.

 b. Report on the accessibility of polling places and voting equipment for people with mobility, visual, and hearing disabilities during the June 21, 2022 Primary Election.

 c. Report on the accessibility of polling places and voting equipment for people with mobility, visual, and hearing disabilities during the November 8, 2022 General Election.

 d. 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 District agencies to replace or make accessible all polling places, to provide an accessible absentee ballot system, and to close schools during elections to enhance the accessibility of schools used as polling sites.

 e. Provide advocacy, outreach and education through materials and presentations to advocates and voters with disabilities in both institutional and community settings regarding voting rights.

 f. Develop and submit to administrative and policy-making bodies testimony and comments on proposed policies, procedures, and regulations that impact access to voting by DC residents with disabilities.



DRDC accepts cases of residents of the District of Columbia who have disabilities and complaints that fall within the aforementioned priorities.


While Disability Rights DC (DRDC) at University Legal Services (ULS) recognizes 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 ULS’ Executive Director. Current clients may also submit a grievance to the Executive Director about the quality of DRDC’s representation and regarding a decision to close a case. In addition, an individual who receives mental health or other services, his/her family members or representatives may also submit a grievance regarding DRDC’s advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities and role as the DC protection and advocacy program.   If requested, an individual 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 ULS Board of Directors within ten (10) days of the written decision of the Executive Director. The decision of the ULS 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.

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