Delaware Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Delaware, 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, features
  • 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)

 

Who can register to vote?

To register to vote in Delaware, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • 18 years old on or before the date of the next General Election
  • A resident of Delaware

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 register and vote

In Delaware, you may not register or vote if:

You have been legally declared "mentally incompetent" by a court

  • You are currently serving a sentence including incarceration, parole, probation, or extended supervision for a felony conviction, or
  • You have not been pardoned for a conviction of a disqualifying felony 

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.
  • You may register to vote at any time, including at an early voting location or at your polling location on Election Day.

All aspects of voter registration must be accessible 

What are the different ways to vote in Delaware?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Early Voting: Voting in person prior to Election Day is offered in Delaware for at least ten days before Primary, General, and Special Elections, with the last day the Sunday before Election Day.
  • Absentee
    • By mail
    • By dropping your ballot off at your election office
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Electronic Voting may be available on a limited basis. Contact your local election official to see if you can vote using Democracy Live technology
  • A provisional ballot at a polling place that is counted after officials confirm your eligibility
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Delaware?
  • Absentee ballots can be requested online through the voter portal (iVote) system, or by filling out an Absentee Ballot Application.
  • If you request to be a permanent absentee voter, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot for all elections you are able to vote in. To qualify, you must be:
    • sick or disabled
    • a uniformed service member,
    • a uniformed service family member,
    • or a U.S. Citizen who lives outside the United States
  • If you use an accessibility tool or software, you may request electronic delivery when applying for an absentee ballot. This will also allow electronic return of your accessible absentee ballot.
  • Delaware provides information on how to request an absentee ballot in a video walkthrough.
How is the Delaware absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

Delaware law permits electronic ballots for physically disabled voters.

You can use U.S. Vote Foundation's tool to complete a standard absentee ballot application or by using the Delaware form. You may request electronic delivery compatible with accessibility software using Delaware's voter portal (iVote).

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

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

An accessible ballot marking device, ExpressVote XL, is available at all polling places. This can be used to make choices audibly or by a touchscreen display. It allows for alternatives such as:

  • Audio 
  • Tactile keys
  • Customizable displays
     
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Delaware?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:  
    • your employer, 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 Delaware prior to Election Day?
Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Delaware?

If you have any problems while voting, contact the Community Legal Aid Society at:

  • (302) 575-0690
  • (302) 575-0696

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.

Additional Resources