Louisiana Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Louisiana, 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 Louisiana, 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?

You can vote in U.S. federal, state, and local elections if you are a US citizen, 18 years old on or before Election Day. You must also meet your state’s residency and registration requirements.

To register in Louisiana, 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
  • Not currently incarcerated, on parole, or on probation for a felony conviction. If your sentence is fully completed, including parole or probation, you are eligible to vote. OR if five (5) years have passed since being released from prison, and you are still on probation or parole, you are eligible to vote.

In Louisiana, 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 incarcerated, or while on probation or parole for five (5) years after your release from prison
  • You claim the right to vote elsewhere
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 Louisiana?
  • In person on Election Day
    • If you are assigned to a polling place that is not accessible, you may cast your vote at the nearest polling place using the same ballot, or at the Registrar of Voters Office.
       
  • Absentee/Early
    • In person at designated locations from 14 to seven days prior to any scheduled election
    • By mail
    • By electronic ballot if you have a disability and applied to vote this way on your absentee ballot application.
       
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
     
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Louisiana?

Anyone may request an absentee ballot in Louisiana, without an excuse. You can choose to apply to vote by mail for just one election, or enroll in a permanent vote by mail program. U.S. Vote Foundation has an online tool that can be used to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.

You may still vote in person (early or on election day) if you do not wish to use your absentee mail-in ballot.

Registered voters may enroll in a special program to vote early at their nursing home, including veterans’ homes, or hospitals where voters live because of a physical disability.

  • If you qualify for this program, the registrar of voters will visit your nursing home at least one (1) week before early voting begins to allow you to vote early.

Voters with disabilities can permanently vote by mail for all elections by submitting a Disabled Application for Absentee by Mail Ballot. The deadline to submit this application is 4:30 p.m. on the fourth day before election day.

  • If you choose to enroll in the automatic absentee ballot program, you will remain in the program until an absentee by mail ballot is returned to the Registrar of Voters Office as “undeliverable” (the mail could not make it to you) or you request to be removed from the program.
     
  • First time applicants to the permanent vote by mail program must submit a copy of ID (driver’s license, state ID, or other form of ID with photo and signature), AND proof of disability with their Disabled Application for Absentee by Mail Ballot.
    • Proof of disability may be:
      • A copy of your current mobility impairment identification card bearing your photograph and the international symbol of accessibility, issued by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections; 
      • Current proof of disability from a physician; or
      • A copy of current documentation (letter or card) showing eligibility for one of the following:
        • Social security disability benefits;
        • Veterans disability benefits;
        • Paratransit services;
        • Benefits from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities; or
        • Benefits from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. 
           
  • Senior citizens (voters 65 years of age or older) may apply for the program by completing the General Application for Absentee by Mail Ballot and checking that you are a senior citizen on the application. You have the option of choosing whether to receive an absentee by mail ballot only for one election or for all future elections.
How is the Louisiana mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you need an alternative ballot, please contact your local election official.

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

If you require assistance on election day or while early voting, you must show one of the following documents to the registrar of voters before election day:

  • Doctor’s certificate;
  • Current mobility impairment ID card;
  • Documentation of government disability benefits; or a
  • Completed and signed voter registration application attesting that the voter has a disability and needs assistance.

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

Louisiana law requires that all polling places be accessible in the following manner:

  • The doors should be wide enough for a wheelchair;
  • There should be ramps or elevators if there are steps; and
  • There must be reserved accessible parking and all walkways must be accessible and free of obstacles.

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 is available at all polling places. This can be used to make choices audibly or by a touchscreen display. It allows for the following alternatives:

  • Audio 
  • Tactile keys
  • Customizable displays

Louisiana also guarantees that:

  • You may adjust the voting machine if you use a wheelchair or prefer to sit while voting
  • If you want to use an audio voting keypad, inform the poll worker before you begin voting. Voting machines are audio accessible and anyone may use the audio voting keypad to vote
  • You may bring personal headphones to use with the audio voting keypad
  • You may request a 2X magnifier to use in voting. The magnifier is available in every polling place and during early voting at the Registrar of Voters Office.
  • Early voting machines allow you to adjust the screen text size
  • You may bring your own flashlight if you need additional lighting.
  • You may bring your own signature tool to assist you in signing your name
  • You may use the Braille Voting Instructions available at each Registrar of Voters’ Office and in each polling place
  • If you need assistance in voting or you will be using the audio voting keypad, you will have 20 minutes to vote instead of 3 minutes
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Louisiana?
  • 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 staff member from a state-owned developmental center
    • A commissioner-in-charge at the polling place
       
  • If you are voting absentee by mail, the person who assists you must sign the absentee by mail ballot envelope. 
     
  • If you are voting in person, the person assisting you must sign the early voting register (during early voting) or the precinct register (on election day.)
     
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Louisiana prior to Election Day?

Louisiana uses the ImageCast® X (ICX) voting system.  The ICX system uses a small touchscreen to navigate your ballot.
The ICX offers the following user interfaces:

  • Visual mode
  • Audio mode
  • Visual and audio mode
     
  • ICX is also compatible with a range of accessibility tools:
    • Audio Tactile Interface (ATI) handheld controller 
    • four-way joystick
    • a sip and puff device
    • a paddle device
    • the ATI has raised keys for tactile identification
    • can be operated with one hand
    • includes a 3.5 mm headphone jack

You can also view images or read more about the ICX system.

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

You can fill-out and submit a HAVA Complaint Form to the Louisiana State Board of Election Supervisors, but the process is complicated. You must:

  • File the complaint within 90 days after the certification of the election
  • Have the HAVA form notarized
  • Mail or deliver a copy of the HAVA complaint to each listed person, office, or “party” the complaint is filed against
  • Send the form to:
    Secretary of State Elections Division
    P.O. Box 94125
    Baton Rouge, LA, 70804-9125

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.