In Hawaii, 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
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
- 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 can not force you into accepting assistance.
Hawaii provides the following guidelines for assisting voters in care facilities:
- Reach out to family members to get them involved in the process of registration and voting.
- Ensure that the resident meets all the qualifications to register to vote.
- When providing assistance in voting, staff must remain nonpartisan and there should be at least two people of differing political affiliation present.
- No one may ask a voter to see or look at the contests of their ballot or choice of political affiliation.
- No one may mark a person’s ballot or direct a person in voting without authorization.
- An attempt to vote in the name of another without specific authorization is illegal.
- You may request an Alternate Format Ballot (AFB) from your County Elections Official. The AFB will be electronically sent to you to download and mark your ballot privately and independently using your own accessibility technology, such as a screen reader.
- You may return the voted ballot electronically to your County Elections Official, or by using the return ballot envelope that was included in the mail packet that all registered voters receive.
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
You may use an accessible ballot marking device, Verity Touch Writer, to vote and then print and cast your ballot. This printed ballot is the same as the one used by all voters, whether at the voter service center or by mail.
Hawaii provides a video on the Verity Touch Writer.
For more information or assistance, you can also contact your local election official.
Contact the Hawaii Disability Rights Center for help at 808-949-2922 Voice/TTY.
If your rights have been violated, you file a complaint in writing. It must be notarized, signed, and sworn by the complaint filer.
Complaints should be mailed to:
Office of Elections
802 Lehua Avenue
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
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
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.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
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- New York
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- Rhode Island
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