People with Trisomy 21 who are 18 and older can and should vote! There are several federal laws that clearly state the right to vote.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) created a helpful guide of “10 Tips for Voters with Disabilities.” These include:
- Learn more about voting: From researching the candidates and what they stand for, to familiarizing yourself with the ballot and finding more information about laws and accessible voting in your state, learn as much as you can ahead of time! Contact your state elections office for more information.
- Register to vote: The deadline to register in Pennsylvania is Oct. 11, 2016. Voter registration ends in New Jersey on Oct. 18, 2016.
- Choose the right voting method for you: Find out about different voting options available, like voting at your designated polling place or sending an absentee ballot through the mail.
- Communicate your needs: Contact your local elections office in advance and alert poll workers on election day to get the assistance you need.
- Know where to vote: Check the location and accessibility of your polling place.
- Know your rights: The Help America Vote Act gives you the right to vote privately and independently, and the Americans with Disabilities Act helps set the tone for polling place and ballot access. Consider reaching out to organizations that support voters with disabilities to find helpful accessibility resources, like these from the EAC.
- Follow up with the elections office after you vote: Your feedback is important. Knowing what worked and what didn’t can help election offices improve the process for the next election.
- Know who can help if voting is not accessible or if you need help casting your ballot: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have full and equal opportunity to vote. If you have concerns, contact your local elections office or the Department of Justice Voting Rights Division.
- Stay informed: Sign up for email and text alerts to stay connected.
- Get more information: There are many organizations and outlets that provide resources to help voters with disabilities find voting place, ballot and candidate information. For example, take a look at the Arc of Illinois Toolkit for Election 2016.