Georgia Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Georgia, 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 in Georgia, you must be

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 1/2 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • Are a legal resident of the county you wish to vote in

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 Georgia, you may not register or vote if:

  • Have had your right to vote specifically removed by a court order, unless your right has been restored
  • Are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction, are on probation or parole. Your right to vote is automatically restored once you complete your full sentence, including parole and probation.

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 this office 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 Georgia?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee (without excuse)
  • Early Voting
    • You may vote at an early voting location in your county, beginning on the fourth Monday prior to a primary or election, and as soon as possible prior to the runoff.
    • Early voting ends on the Friday immediately prior to Election Day.
       
  • 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 Georgia?
  • In Georgia, you can cast an absentee ballot for any election. 
    • You must first submit an absentee ballot application.  You can do this online, by email, mail, fax or in person at your county registrar’s office
    • Absentee ballots may be requested any time between 78 and 11 calendar days prior to Election Day. 
    • Note that if you did not vote in the 2022 primary, you may not automatically receive a ballot for the General Election in November. You may need to apply for an absentee ballot.
       
  • To request an absentee ballot, you'll need:
    • A completed Absentee Ballot Application.
    • Your address
    • Date of birth
    • the county where you are registered 
    • and one of the following: 
      • the number for your driver’s license or free state ID
      • the last four digits of your Social Security number 
    • If you do not have a driver’s license, state-issued ID, or your Social Security number on file with the voter registration system, you can upload a photo of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.
       
How is the Georgia mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you need assistance to vote due to a disability, you can request a vote-by-mail ballot through an electronic ballot delivery and marking system, if available in your county. 

You have the option to print the ballot for manual or electronic marking, with or without compatible assistive devices or software. A marked ballot may be returned in person or by mail only. Contact your election official for more information.

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

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

Every polling place in Georgia is equipped with at least one touchscreen voting unit that will allow you to vote while sitting in a chair or wheelchair.

On Election Day, polling places in Georgia are open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. 

An accessible ballot marking device is available at all polling places, which meets major categories of accessibility. This can be used to make choices audibly or by a touchscreen display. It allows for alternatives, including:

  • A handheld device, called the Audio Tactile Interface (ATI), can be used by a voter during an Accessible Voting Session to navigate through and make selections on their ballot. The ATI includes:
    • Raised buttons of different shapes and colors, large or Braille numbers and letters
    • Can be operated with one hand
    • Includes a 3.5 mm headphone jack
    • Includes a T-Coil coupling
    • Has a T4 rating for interference
    • Uses light pressure switches
    • Can be equipped with a sip and puff device, or a set of paddles
    • In Audio Mode, the visual display can be masked, and the voter uses headphones to navigate an audio ballot using one of the available accessibility devices.
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Georgia?
  • 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 candidate on the ballot
    • a candidate’s spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
     
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Georgia prior to Election Day?

For instructions on how to use the accessible voting machines, contact your local election official.
 

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

If your rights have been violated, please contact the Office of Secretary of State Elections Division by filing out a contact form. Or call (404) 656-2871.

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 assistance with advocacy, protection of your voting rights, and other services, you may contact the Georgia Advocacy Office.

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.