Alabama Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Alabama?

In Alabama, you have the right to the following items as protected by federal law.  Election staff must be trained  on and respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if requested
  • Assistance from a person of your choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent, or a candidate unless this person is your family member)
Who can register to vote in Alabama?

To register to vote in Alabama, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • A resident of Alabama

If you are a student, homeless, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you can still vote.

In Alabama, you may not register or vote if you:

  • Have been declared "mentally incompetent" by a court
  • Have been convicted of a disqualifying felony ("crime of moral turpitude") and your civil rights have not been restored.

Register to vote now if you are eligible!

What are my rights when registering to vote?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities of these offices include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official

All aspects of voter registration must be accessible.

What are the different ways to vote in Alabama?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee beginning on the 55th day prior to Election Day
    • In person absentee with an excuse
    • By mail absentee with an excuse
    • Voters with disabilities can apply for a permanent absentee voter” status
       
  • A provisional ballot that is counted after officials confirm your eligibility
  • While abroad as a citizen or military
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Alabama?

Request an absentee ballot now or contact your local election official to find out how to get an ballot.

Deadline for requesting an Absentee Ballot:

  • Absentee ballot applications sent by mail must be received by your county's Absentee Election Manager no later than 7 days prior to the election.
  • Absentee ballot applications returned by hand must be received by your county's Absentee Election Manager no later than 5 days prior to the election.

Deadline for returning a completed Absentee Ballot:

  • An absentee ballot returned by mail must be received by your county's Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on election day.
  • An absentee ballot returned by hand must be received by your county's Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.

Absentee Voting in Person:

  • You may cast an in-person absentee ballot by visiting or contacting your county Absentee Election Manager’s Office. 
  • Each county is equipped with at least one accessible voting machine to assist voters with disabilities. 
  • Absentee voting begins 55 days before each election, accessible voting machines will be made available at that time.

Absentee Voting on a Permanent Basis:

If you are considered “permanently disabled” you may vote by absentee ballot on an on-going basis by submitting an absentee ballot application to your Absentee Election Manager’s Office:

  • You must have your absentee ballot application signed and notarized by your primary physician.
  • You do not need to provide a photo I.D. with your absentee ballot application.
  • You may check a box on your application indicating that you
  • When your application is approved, you will receive an absentee ballot for all county, state, and federal elections held during the calendar year in which your application was filed. For election cycles that span multiple years, the application will be valid for the entire election cycle.
  • Your absentee ballot application must be returned to your county's Absentee Election Manager’s Office by mail no later than 7 days before an election, or in-person no later than 5 days before an election.
  • If you wish to continue receiving absentee ballots, you must renew your application annually.
  • If you wish to vote absentee, but not on a permanent basis, you may check a box on the regular absentee application indicating that you cannot access your polling location due to a condition that affects your ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak.
  • If you wish to vote by absentee ballot in a municipal election, you must submit a separate application for municipal permanent disability absentee ballot.
How is the Alabama mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you have a disability which affects your ability to read print, you may request appropriate voter guides, ballots, or other materials by contacting your Absentee Election Manager’s Office.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Alabama?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs.

  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting in person on Election Day.
     
  • The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections.  The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, that other voters receive. 

If you want to check that your polling location meets these standards or find an alternative polling location, contact your local election official.

If you are mobility disabled or over the age of 70 you can request to be moved to the front of the line at the polling place

In Alabama,

  • All voting locations are equipped with accessible voting equipment on Election Day, available from 7:00am to 7:00pm
    • Every polling location is equipped with at least one accessible voting machine to assist voters with disabilities
    • Accessible voting machines are made available during in-person absentee voting (begins 55 days before each election)
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Alabama?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:
    • your employer or an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Alabama prior to Election Day?

Contact your local election official to preview a sample ballot and practice using accessible voting equipment. 

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Alabama?

If you have a problem while exercising your right to vote, you can:

  • Submit an Alabama Voter Complaint Form
    • Report issues online via web form
    • Report issues via printable form
    • Mailing Address:
      Office of the Secretary of State
      Voter Fraud Unit
      P.O. Box 5616
      Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616
       
  • Contact the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office
    • Speak to a staff member by calling the toll free hotline  1-800-274-VOTE (8683)
    • Complaints may be submitted via fax by at (334) 242-2444
    • As of May, 2022 the Deputy Chief of Staff & Director of Elections is Clay Helms. Clay Helms is reachable by phone at 334-353-7177, or by e-mail at clay.helms@sos.alabama.gov

You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
  • By mailing your form to: 

                 U.S. Department of Justice
                 Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                 ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                 Washington, DC 20530

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.