Colorado Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Colorado, you have the right to the following 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 needed
  • Assistance from a person of your  choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent or someone who has authority over you at work)

In Colorado, you also have the following rights:  

  • There must be at least one accessible voting system in each Voting Service and Polling Center (“VSPC”).
  • All VSPC’s must be accessible.
  • Registration forms, ballots, and other materials must be made available in alternate formats that are accessible.
  • Individuals with disabilities have a right to reasonable modifications and auxiliary aids that make it possible for them to vote.
  • A disabled voter may have extra time to cast their vote.
  • Voting machines must provide all voters with the ability to independently and privately cast their vote and correct it, if needed.
     
Who can register to vote?

To register in Colorado, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A resident of Colorado  for at least 22 days immediately before the election you intend to vote in

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote.

In Colorado, you may not register or vote if:

  • You are currently serving a term of imprisonment for a felony conviction.  Your to vote right is automatically restored when you finish your sentence even if you are on parole or probation, however you must re-register to vote
  • You claim the right to vote elsewhere

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 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 Colorado?
  • Early Voting
  • In person on Election Day
  • Vote by mail.  All registered voters receive a mail-in ballot
  • Absentee without excuse
    • Submit an accessible ballot online if you are blind, have a visual impairment, a perceptual or reading disability, or are otherwise unable to hold, mark, or manipulate a ballot due to physical disability
       
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place that is counted after officials confirm your eligibility
     
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Colorado?
  • All registered voters automatically receive a mail-in ballot at the address voters used when registering to vote.
     
  • You can get an accessible ballot online as well.
How is the Colorado mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?
  • You are eligible to return a ballot electronically if you are blind, have a visual impairment, a perceptual or reading disability, or are otherwise unable to hold, mark, or manipulate a ballot due to physical disability.
     
  • Beginning 22 days before, and on Election Day, you can access an electronic ballot or view the sample ballot at: myballot.sos.colorado.gov.
     
What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Colorado?

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 unable to stand in line, you can:

  • Request to be moved to the front of the line or refuse to be moved to the front of the line
  • Request that a chair be provided or refuse to accept a chair
  • Request to have your place in line held and notified when it is your turn

Also, In Colorado,

  • All polling locations must have accessible parking
  • If you wish to vote in person but think you may have difficulty getting to the polls once you arrive at the polling location, consider informing your county clerk about this problem prior to Election Day. They may be able to relocate the polling location within the building. If this isn't feasible, they may be able to place a chair or bench along the route so that you can rest.
  • There must be at least one accessible voting system in each polling location
  • Registration forms, ballots, and other materials must be made available in alternate formats that are accessible.
  • Individuals with disabilities have a right to reasonable modifications and auxiliary aids that make it possible for them to vote.
  • A disabled voter may have extra time to cast their vote.
     
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Colorado?
  • 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
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
     
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Colorado prior to Election Day?

You can access your electronic ballot or view your sample ballot during the 22 days before and on election day. On that website, you will be guided through a step-by-step process to vote and return your ballot.

If you plan to vote in person and wish to prepare using the accessible voting equipment prior voting, 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 Colorado?

You can file a HAVA (Help America Vote Act) complaint form directly with the Secretary of State’s office, located at:  1700 Broadway, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80290

If you need help filing your complaint, you may contact Disability Law Colorado by calling their Denver office at 1-800-288-1376 or 303-722-3619 (TTY).

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.