Kentucky Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Kentucky, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must 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 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)
  • Election Staff trained to understand the rights above.

In Kentucky, you also have the right to:  

  • Independently mark and cast your ballot without interference, coercion, or intimidation. 
  • Vote in privacy and cast a secret ballot.
  • Receive assistance when voting.
  • Review a sample ballot before voting. 
  • Vote by absentee ballot if you have a disability that prevents you from voting in person on Election Day.
  • File a complaint about voting accessibility or other violation.
Who can register to vote?

To register to vote in Kentucky, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day
  • A resident of the city or county for at least 30 days

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 Kentucky, you may not register or vote if:

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 Kentucky?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee 
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
  • Kentucky offers early voting
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Kentucky?

You may vote absentee with a valid excuse, if you have a permanent disability, an emergency arises, or you live in a supervised setting:

  • Absentee with Excuse. You must apply for each election and meet one of the following criteria to be approved: 
    • You have a physical disability or illness that prevents you from voting in person on election day and days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting.
    • You are an active member of the US armed forces.
    • You will be out of town during all voting hours on election day and days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting.
    • You will be working during all voting hours on election day and days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting.
    • You or your spouse is scheduled for surgery requiring hospitalization on election day and days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting
    • You are pregnant and in the third trimester, and has completed the form prescribed by the State Board of Elections.
    • You are a student living temporarily outside of the county.
    • You are performing duties as an election official.
       
  • Permanent Disability Absentee. You must have a doctor’s certification certifying you have a permanent disability and apply with your town clerk.
     
  • Emergency Absentee. If you are injured or fall ill within six (6) days of the election, you can apply with your town clerk.  
     
  • Supervised Absentee. If you reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other qualified institution.

In Kentucky, a provisional ballot is only offered if a federal office is on the ballot: 

  • At the polling place if your name does not appear on the voter registration list.
  • You must sign an affidavit that you are registered and eligible to vote.
How is the Kentucky mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you need an alternative ballot, please contact your local town clerk.

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

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

Curbside voting is available if you are temporarily incapacitated. 

  • After showing a valid form of ID, Registrars of Voters from both parties will bring you a ballot and a privacy sleeve. 
  • You must mark the ballot in front of them, but they must stand in a way that will not violate your right to a private vote.

An accessible ballot marking device 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 Kentucky?
  • 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 poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Kentucky prior to Election Day?

For assistance or more information on accessible voting equipment, please contact your local election office.

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

If your voting rights have been violated, please contact:

  • Your Precinct Election Officer
  • Your County Clerk/Board of Elections 
  • The Kentucky State Board of Elections at (502) 573-7100 
  • The Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline at (800) 328-8683

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.