Tips to Help Election Workers Serve Voters with Disabilities

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This resource includes both general and disability-specific tips to help election workers serve voters with disabilities.

General tips

  • Treat every voter with respect and assume competence.
  • Be patient to those who need extra time to communicate or cast their ballot.
  • Offer assistance, but don’t begin to assist someone before asking if they want help. If you don’t know what type of assistance someone needs, just ask.
  • Inform people of right to use an accessible voting machine.
  • Allow voters with disabilities to receive assistance from any person of their choice (besides their employer or union representative).
  • Remember that some disabilities are invisible.
  • Don’t question a person about their disability.
  • If you do not understand someone, ask them to repeat what they said.
  • Don’t pretend to understand what someone says or complete someone’s sentences.
  • Offer curbside voting to someone having trouble getting into polling place.

Serving voters who use wheelchairs or have mobility limitations

  • Don’t start pushing a wheelchair without first asking if assistance is needed.
  • Adjust to the person’s eye level while talking to someone in a wheelchair, so they don’t have to look up.
  • Don’t lean or hang on someone’s wheelchair.
  • Don’t offer to carry someone up stairs or into an inaccessible space.
  • Provide a place to sit or line preference for individuals who cannot stand for a long time.

Serving voters who are blind or have low vision

  • Don’t touch, pet or distract a service animal.
  • Greet the person by telling them who and where you are (in proximity to them).
  • Provide a guiding device such as a ruler or card for signing forms.
  • Offer to explain how the accessible machines work.
  • If the voter needs assistance getting to the voting booth, guide them by voice or by offering your arm. Do not touch the individual without asking.
  • Offer assistance, but allow individuals to cast votes independently if they prefer.

Serving voters who are deaf or have hearing impairments

  • Please remember that speaking loudly at the voter is considered rude.
  • Understand that some voters will require a sign language interpreter and do not read English.
  • Do not assume all people who are deaf can read lips. That being said, some voters can read lips. When communicating, remember to face the person you are speaking to and keep eye contact.
  • Keep pen and paper for voters who may be able to communicate by passing notes.
  • If voter is using a sign language interpreter, maintain eye contact with the voter directly, not their interpreter.

For help, call the Disability Rights Texas Voting Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683).


Last updated: January 2022
Date created: January 2013
Publication Code: HA23

Disability Rights Texas logo

Statewide Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone: 1-866-362-2851
Purple 2 Video Phone: 512-271-9391
Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

To request this handout in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, contact us.

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