In Missouri, 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 Missouri, you also have the right to:
- Cast your ballot free from interference in a private and secret manner unless assistance is requested;
- View written instructions on how to obtain and cast a ballot;
- Ask for and receive further instructions from election judges concerning the manner of voting;
- View a sample ballot in the polling place before voting;
- Cast a vote if you are in line at 7:00 PM (closing time at the polls);
- Ask for assistance from an election judge or person of your choice if you have any physical disability which hinders your ability to independently vote your ballot; cast your ballot on an accessible voting system (i.e. equipped with an audio ballot); or request curbside voting or a more accessible polling location if needed;
- Receive another ballot if your ballot is accidentally spoiled or you make an error;
- Vote by provisional ballot if you are a registered voter and have no form of ID or if your name is not on the precinct register and the election judges or election authority cannot determine your registration status;
- Vote by absentee ballot as permitted by law;
- Verify that the choices you made on the screen match the attached voter verifiable paper audit trail if you vote on a "touch screen" system and;
- File a grievance with the Secretary of State's office if your rights under the Help America Vote Act, Title III, have been violated.
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
- A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
If you need an alternative ballot, please contact your local election official.
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.
Missouri also provides for:
- Curbside Voting: Voters with limited mobility can vote "curbside" or outside the polling place. Just go to your polling place and ask someone to go in and ask poll workers to bring a ballot out to you. They should bring you a ballot within a reasonable period of time.
- Accessible Polling Places: If you have physical disabilities and your polling place is not accessible, you may request a different polling place assignment so that you may vote in a more accessible polling place. You may also vote at a central location. Contact your local election authority to make this request. You can also call (800)NOW-VOTE for more information.
- Accessible Voting Systems: Every polling place must have an accessible voting system for individuals with disabilities including audiovisual accessibility. Accessible systems include an audio ballot to make your selections or the ability to enlarge text so that you can read the on-screen ballot with ease.
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
- Missouri has developed this Guide to Disabilities and Voting System Access Features
- Device demonstrations are available. See this device demonstration guide for more details.
- Missouri provides device loans, a recycle and reuse program, telecommunication access program, conferences, training, and programs for those with hearing and vision loss. More information can be found on the Missouri Accessible Voting Systems Page.
- Contact your local election official to preview a sample ballot and practice using accessible voting equipment.
If you believe there has been a violation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), you can file a HAVA Elections Complaint Form within 30 days of the election. Complete the form and return it, signed and notarized:
- By mail, addressed to:
Missouri Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: Elections Division
600 W. Main St.
Jefferson City, MO 65101
- Or by email to email@example.com
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.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia