In Minnesota, 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
- 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)
In Minnesota, you also have the right to:
- Take time off work to vote without losing your pay, personal leave, or vacation time
- Vote if you are in line to vote anytime before 8 p.m
- Register to vote on Election Day if you can show the required proof of residence
- Verbally confirm who you are and have another person sign for you if you cannot sign your name
- Bring your children with you to vote
- Vote after you finish all parts of your sentence, including any probation, parole, or supervised release
- Vote if you are under a guardianship, unless a judge has revoked your right to vote
- Vote without anyone in the polling place trying to influence your vote
- Get a replacement ballot if you make a mistake on your ballot before you cast it
- File a written complaint at your polling place
- Take a sample ballot into the voting booth
Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities of these offices 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 or an agent of your employer
- an officer or agent of your union
- Your assistant can help you in all parts of the voting process, including in the voting booth.
- You can show your ballot privately to an election judge to check that it is correctly marked.
- Helpers are not allowed to influence your vote or share how you vote with others.
- A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
Minnesota uses OmniBallot to make voting accessible for voters with print disabilities.
The absentee ballot request form is available in Large Print. After filling out your absentee ballot request form, you may contact your county election office and tell them you wish to receive an alternative ballot.
If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact your county election office.
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 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
Most polling locations in Minnesota have an accessible ballot marking machine. There are four types of machines available, depending on your location: OmniBallot, ImageCast Evolution, Verity TouchWriter, and AutoMARK.
Minnesota’s minimum requirements for accessibility include:
- At least one set of doors must have a minimum width of 32 inches if the doors must be used to enter or leave the polling place.
- Any curb adjacent to the main entrance to a polling place must have curb cuts or temporary ramps. Where the main entrance is not the accessible entrance, any curb adjacent to the accessible entrance must also have curb cuts or temporary ramps.
- Where the main entrance is not the accessible entrance, a sign shall be posted at the main entrance giving directions to the accessible entrance.
- At least one set of stairs must have a temporary handrail and ramp if stairs must be used to enter or leave the polling place.
- No barrier in the polling place may impede the path of persons with disabilities to the voting booth.
- At least one parking space for persons with disabilities, which may be temporarily so designated by the municipality for the day of the election, must be available near the accessible entrance.
- The doorway, handrails, ramps, and handicapped parking must conform to the standards specified in the state building code for accessibility by persons with disabilities.
If you want to check that your polling location meets these standards or find an alternative polling location, contact your local election official.
Minnesota uses four types of accessible ballot marking machines. They are listed below, and linked to short videos explaining each:
Each machine differs slightly, but all of them can do the following things:
- Allow selections by touching the screen (if applicable) or pressing braille keys on the keypad.
- Read the ballot to you through headphones, while you mark the ballot with the braille keypad.
- Allow you to turn the screen off for privacy.
- Warn you about making ballot marking errors, such as voting for more than one party's candidates in a partisan primary election.
- Print your choices on the ballot.
You can find more information on which ballot marking machines will be at which specific polling places on Minnesota’s Ballot Marking Machine Page.
Contact your local election official to preview a sample ballot and practice using accessible voting equipment.
Please contact Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid if you have problems related to disability while voting.
To file a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) complaint with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State:
- Complete the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Complaint Form.
- Cite the part of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Title III (Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Election Technology and Administration Requirements) you believe was violated. Choose from:
- Section 301 (Voting Machine Standards)
- Section 302 (Voting Information Requirements)
- Section 303 (Statewide Voter Registration).
- Have the form notarized (or signed by an election judge at the polling place on Election Day) and return it to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State at:
Minnesota Secretary of State
Elections and Administration
180 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55155
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.
- Minnesota Voter Registration FAQ
- Minnesota Vote by Mail FAQ
- Absentee Ballot Instructions in Large Print or Other Languages
- Voter Registration or Absentee Ballot Request
- Election Dates/Deadlines
- Election Official Directory
- US Vote Foundation's Voter Help Desk
- Department of Justice Civil Rights Violation Complaint Form
- Verified Voter Accessible Voting Machine Search
- Minnesota Elections Complaint Form
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia